October 7, 2015

From Germany to Mexico: How America’s source of immigrants has changed over a century

Where Each State's Largest Immigrant Population Was BornNearly 59 million immigrants have arrived in the United States since 1965, making the nation the top destination in the world for those moving from one country to another. Mexico, which shares a nearly 2,000-mile border with the U.S., is the source of the largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States.

But today’s volume of immigrants is in some ways a return to America’s past. A century ago, the U.S. experienced another large wave of 18.2 million immigrants, hailing largely from Europe. Many Americans can trace their roots to that wave, from 1890 to 1919, when Germany dominated as the country sending the most immigrants to many of the U.S. states, although the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy were also strongly represented.

In 1910, Germany was the top country of birth among U.S. immigrants, accounting for 19% of all immigrants (or 2.5 million) in the United States. Germans made up the biggest immigrant group in 18 states and the District of Columbia, while Mexico accounted for the most immigrants in just three states (Arizona, New Mexico and Texas). After Germany, the largest share of immigrants in the U.S. came from Russia and the countries that would become the USSR (11%, or 1.5 million).

How America's Source of Immigrants Has Changed Over Time

Since 1965, when Congress passed legislation to open the nation’s borders, immigrants have largely hailed from Latin America and Asia. In states that have attracted many immigrants, the current share of immigrants is below peaks reached more than a century ago. In 2012, there were four states (California, New York, New Jersey and Florida) in which about one-in-five or more people are foreign born. California peaked in 1860 at 40%, when China was the top country of birth among immigrants there. Meanwhile, New York and New Jersey peaked in 1910 at 30% (Russia and the USSR) and 26% (Italy), respectively.

Among U.S. immigrants as of 2013, five times as many are from Mexico as from China, where the second-highest number of U.S. immigrants were born (6% of all immigrants in the U.S., or 2.4 million). Mexico is the birthplace of 28% (or 11.6 million) of all immigrants in the U.S. Immigrants born in Mexico account for more than half of all of the foreign born in five states: New Mexico (72%), Arizona (58%), Texas (58%), Idaho (53%) and Oklahoma (51%).

Despite Mexico’s large numbers, immigrants come to the U.S. from all over the world. India is the top country of birth among immigrants in New Jersey, even though only about one-in-ten of the state’s immigrants are from India. Canada is the top country of birth for immigrants in Maine (24%), Montana (21%), New Hampshire (15%), Vermont (15%) and North Dakota (13%). Filipinos account for a large share of immigrants in Hawaii (47%) and Alaska (27%).

Immigrant Share of PopulationNote: This post was originally published on May 27, 2014, and updated on Oct. 7, 2015, to include 2013 data.

Countries are defined by their modern-day boundaries, which may be different from their historical boundaries. For example, China includes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Russia and the former USSR countries are combined in this analysis, even though the Soviet Union was only in existence between 1922 and 1991. Birthplace is self-reported by respondents.  

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Hispanic/Latino Demographics

  1. Photo of Jens Manuel Krogstad

    is a writer/editor focusing on Hispanics, immigration and demographics at Pew Research Center.

  2. is a senior information graphics designer at Pew Research Center.


  1. Anonymous1 year ago

    As a long time resident of Michigan I would have guessed the main sources of immigrants to be:

    1. Lebanon.
    2. India
    3. China.

    Mexicans are practically unknown in Southeastern Michigan where I live. On the other hand, I’ve heard that there are many of them in the Western (agricultural) portion of the state.

  2. Nate Leiviskä1 year ago

    Very educational and it appears that from the looks of it to be a wave pattern. Would this pattern continue like this? I might have to look at more research by Pew Report. Which by the way is non-partisan.

  3. Anonymous1 year ago

    Are these legal or illegal immigrants? Or both?

  4. Anonymous1 year ago

    This is really educational. I didn’t know how the amount of immigrants in this country are that much.

  5. Buttface Mcgee2 years ago

    Whats funny is, Wisconsin is mainly German from 1850 to 2000

  6. albino2 years ago

    It strikes to me that Americans (and also the surveys) identify all those people coming from the south of the border of US as mexicans! Since 2009 those called illegal immigrants are mostly from Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras, and others. You see them in the streets of many cities on Mexico asking for help in their journey to US. Many of them jump on a cargo train in southeast mexico called “the beast” to get near the north border.
    Most of them are brown skin like most mexicans are, but they are not mexicans.
    Actually since the 2009 crisis many illegal mexicans return home when jobs in construction went scarce. Those working in the crop fields stay. In these years there has been huge foreign investment in mexico creating needed jobs there.

  7. Paul Mullaney2 years ago

    We should make illegal immigrants legal immigrants and make them U.S citizens so they will have the same rights and opportunities as we do.

    1. Boris2 years ago

      Oh, great idea, Paul! Please move yourself since we need the same rights and opportunities as you do here. Oh, and could you please also move your kids as we need some space for our children and parents too, alright? Thank you in advance, mate. Now we are happy to stay.

    2. CC2 years ago

      maybe they should apply for it or it could end up on the ballot

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      That kind of bleeding heart insanity is what is bankrupting our nation!
      All immigrants need to go through the proper channels to come here. They need to be educated on American values and the way we are to behave; they need to know our laws and our history and most importantly, know our LANGUAGE!

      1. RosaLinda Hunt1 year ago

        You do know that Mexico is America right? This is the UNITED states. People like you saying “They need to learn our language” are completely ignorant. The U.S. doesn’t even have it’s “own language”. lmfao.

  8. Jorge Ayala2 years ago

    Why doesn’t Pew have an African American Research Dedicated Section? Didn’t black Americans descended from slaves build this country? Didn’t they suffer being brought here against their will? Isn’t this their country and aren’t they only a minority added to the majority in America less than half a century ago? What’s with the favoritism Hispanic Pew?
    We see right through you.

    1. Jay2 years ago

      Because “African Americans” didn’t “Migrate” to the US…they were forced here…but, great question though!

      1. RosaLinda Hunt1 year ago

        Most mexicans were forced here too as children who had no say in coming here.

  9. Betsy2 years ago

    This is great datastory! You should add the data to mapstory.org!

  10. Thomas R2 years ago

    South Dakota being Ethiopian is interesting, almost wonder if there’s a story there.

    1. Your Master2 years ago


    2. Jon2 years ago

      There is a reason for everything. The Ethiopians were probably bought in as refugees; why that state is unknown to me. The US State Dept. has a program called the Diversity Program, where they bring in 50-100K foreigners every year. It is all done below the radar. Why? See Cloward-Piven.

      1. Matt2 years ago

        Same applies with Somalians and Minnesota. I guess the Canadians have them outnumbered there though.

    3. Sravanthi Meka2 years ago

      I remember growing up in Ocean Springs, Mississippi in the 1980s that we had a large Vietnamese population – that is where they were given refugee status in the 1970s, and most stayed in that area. I worked in Northeast Georgia for the last 15 years, and we had pockets of Hmong population for the same reason. I asked a friend that worked in immigration law, and they said that they based refugee placement on the population’s work skills. Many of the Vietnamese were trained as fishermen, so the Gulf Coast seemed like a logical place. The Hmong were adept in textile manufacturing, and we have a lot of mills in Georgia. Ethiopians in South Dakota – farming, maybe?

  11. Brandon Fenwick2 years ago


  12. Daniel2 years ago

    Is this first generation immigrants, first and second, or immigrants and their descendants?

  13. Toads2 years ago

    The problems with today’s immigraton is :

    1) Many are illegal rather than legal.
    2) Unskilled is more common than skilled.
    3) Too many from one country, rather than distributed across many countries.

    Canada’s immigration policy is much smarter than America’s, since they focus on skill, and yet take a higher proportion of immigrants than the US. 18% of Canada’s population is now Indian and Chinese, and given their higher income, they comprise over 25% of the wealthy people in Canada now. This is not causing any problems, and Canada has surpassed the US economically in many areas.

    1. Patricia J Moore2 years ago

      Actually, “Many are illegal rather than legal” is an incorrect statement. Even using the most generous estimates, the vast majority of immigrants in the US are here legally.

      Also, someone has to do unskilled labor. If you review American history, immigrants, who generally had limited facility with English and few skills, worked in unskilled (and usually high risk) jobs in factories and agriculture. (Most of the women killed in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire were immigrants). It’s the exact same dynamic today.

      And finally, an opinion. I don’t get point 3. The immigrants you get are the ones you get. The US gets a healthy number well educated, affluent immigrants from countries such as China, Russia, and India. Not to mention all of those Canadians who come across the border 😉

    2. blair2 years ago

      This is so true. Because Canada is able to more efficiently regulate their immigrants, they are in turn able to accept the immigrants that come to their country because they weed out the unskilled and illegal ones and only let in the ones that are going to help benefit their country. Never knew this before. I have a project in my U.S. History class and this helped so much. Thanks!

  14. DM2 years ago

    Were Africans not immigrants? Although they were enslaved, raped and brutalized doesn’t mean they weren’t from another country.

    1. Brick Wahl2 years ago

      Good question….but the importation of slaves into the US from Africa ended in 1808, though very few were imported after the American Revolution, by then, so by the time of the earliest map here in 1850 nearly all slaves were actually born in the United States.

  15. Stacy Clarkson3 years ago

    Sovereign nations, control who comes and go into their nation…

  16. @cairoteacher3 years ago

    Professor Aviva Chomsky’s community lecture on the history of immigration and US laws is an interesting supplement to this article. youtube.com/watch?v=WQnoFk37ZKY

  17. robert gruy3 years ago

    My grandfather and his brothers came from Austria in the early 1900’s. They were all skilled craftsmen, masons and bricklayers who could design and build virtually any kind of structure. Many of today’s immigrants have no such skills and can only perform menial tasks. They are a burden on America’s workers.

    1. Anonymous ;)3 years ago

      Workers from less-developed countries are more willing to do low-paying jobs and hard physical labor than typical US citizens. People born in the US typically have a higher education and are less willing to do low-paying, laborious tasks. Immigrants from poor countries are helping both their home country and the US by providing a large source of income to their families and also doing the labor many US citizens aren’t willing to do.

      1. Dan Coyne2 years ago

        This was shown when Arizona passed their ID search law (police required to search anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant) and other states like GA followed suit. In GA the potato and tomato farmers were hard pressed to find help picking their crops because illegal and legal Mexican-born workers fled the state. They tried busing in unemployed folk from the cities and suburbs. They could not handle to work and did not have the skills to pick the produce. Far from being a burden, these workers serve to help put food on the shelves for all Americans.

        1. Rex Remes2 years ago

          Using illegal, unskilled labor is a step backwards. Without the, businesses would innovate (find ways to modernize … Leading to productivity gains and increased standards of living for everyone).

          Read up on how the blueberry farmers in the US northeast are replacing unskilled workers with machines.

    2. Ryan Beaudoin2 years ago

      Thank you for the family history, but the fact is that immigrants who came to america in the 19th century were, for the most part, unskilled as well. They worked in garment factories and iron works and coal mines. Most learned skills on the job or died trying. It was not this romantic situation where the artisans of the world were arriving on our shores. I applaud people who come to this country willing to do backbreaking work for little pay so they can lead a better life. That is what my family did, and if they didn’t look like the white majority they may have had a more difficult time.

      1. Rex Remes2 years ago

        Most jobs in the 19th century didn’t require the worker to be skilled

    3. Esme Moreno2 years ago

      Excuse me, but did you not take an American history course. The majority of immigrants come unskilled. Were the Chinese and the Irish a burden to the U.S. economy as they built the transcontinental railroad, where they died in order to provide a faster trade route connecting both parts of the country. Or were they unskilled when the worked in industries such as Standard Oil and Carnegie Steel, gaining below the minimum with no protection.

  18. Marina Meadows3 years ago

    Hispanics, we are the must driving force in USA today!
    Please read my twitter page at mycampaign2014 check all posts and photos!!

  19. Rev David Felten3 years ago

    The “flip” reported from German Immigrants to latinos is not just a change in race. It is a radical change in the sociological and cultural composition of our Nation.
    Part of this reversal is already having an effect upon our society. The “old” group of immigrants possessed a burning desire to become a true “American.” They worked hard at ensuring their children learned our English language, our laws, our culture.
    The wave of Hispanic immigrants, particularly those arriving during the past few decades, posses a different, skewed, ideology. Labor, fraudulent access to benefits and subsidies, motivated, emboldened, and a protective shield provided by “shark” lawyers and environment of political correctness, have radically altered the expectations of these immigrants, particularly illegal. Their’s is a feeling of “entitlement” whether earned or not.
    Changing this environment will require serious recognition,laser focus, and unrelenting dedication to re establishing the core principles, laws, and moral foundation which initiated our sovereign republic.

    1. George Fulmore3 years ago

      This comment is, of course, mostly misinformation. Latino Americans are assimilating into the U.S. culture faster than any previous group. All the kids are attending English-based schools. As with other immigrant groups, adults who come to the U.S. primarily speaking their native language will have a tougher time fully assimilating. But the idea that they come here to be lazy and.or to be “entitled” is nonsense. That was said about all earlier groups, many of whom faced even more discrimination than do Latinos in the U.S. today

      Finally, Latinos are not a “race.” They are a culture, made up of a mixture of European and Native American cultures. The dominant physical result is a mixed race, as such, called “mestizos.” This is not a unique race, but a mixture of the two races. This is a major reason why the Census Bureau and/or the immigration laws have had problems with identification of Latinos. What has emerged, of course, is the designation of “Hispanic Enthnicity,” or something to that nature, in addition to the classification of race.

      1. Joe3 years ago

        Agreed. The “Rev” should read some of “Why Europe Leaves Home” by Kenneth Roberts. Written about 100 years ago, it is full of descriptions of “filthy”, “ignorant” and “backward” people coming to America by the millions from central and eastern Europe, i.e., the same rhetoric used to describe current immigrants. In 100 years, Americans will be talking about their hardworking hispanic ancestors, and how the current wave of immigrants is a burden on the country.

        1. fer2 years ago

          There we go someone finally said it and gets it!

      2. JK2 years ago

        The “reverend” is a bundle of misinformation viewed through a kaleidoscope of prejudice. Apparently he doesn’t understand that his “Jesus” was a brown Aramaic man much more similar in appearance to Jesus the Latino than the reverend’s European ancestors.

      3. Dan Coyne2 years ago

        All good with one major exception: race is a social construct that has no basis in biology. There is but one race of humans, human beings.

    2. Dan Coyne2 years ago

      Not true. If you had gone into the West in the mid-nineteenth century you would have heard many people speaking German and other languages. Illegal and legal Mexican workers work very hard and supply farmers with much needed labor that US citizens are not willing to perform. This was shown in GA a few years back when the Arizona-style ID laws were passed and many Mexican-born laborers (legal as well as illegal) fled that state. The farmers lost a lot of money and begged the legislature to repeal the law. They tried to get “true Americans” (whatever the hell that means) who were unemployed to work the fields. They bused them in from the cities and suburbs, but most of them would not work even a full day. They also lacked the skill it takes to pick the sweet potatoes and tomatoes that the farmers took a great loss on. Sorry, Rev, your rhetoric is unfounded.

      1. jorge2 years ago

        but german immigrants and italian immigrants came before there was any sort of subsidies like food stamps, section 8, ebt cash cards, anchor babies, free college aid for minorities.

  20. mike3 years ago

    America in 2025 will be more like Mexico than 1950-2006 America

  21. Janice Jones3 years ago

    What’s the percentage of illegal immigrants in your article ?

    1. Carol3 years ago

      Was wondering the same thing. Do your stats include all of the illegals?? It would also be interesting to know which country sends the highest proportion do their immigrants as illegals.

      1. Jose3 years ago

        The Irish….

  22. Alejandro González3 years ago

    Nuestra piel ha sido diseñada por Dios para vivir en esta tierra.
    Estados Unidos jamás nos podrá conquistar 😉

    our skin is designed by God to live on this earth
    US can never dominate Mexico 😉

    1. Amanda T3 years ago

      Alejandro, you crack me up. I love it!

    2. hhfgffjfkf3 years ago

      Remind your godly folks of that, so they can stay home instead of coming over…lol

    3. Tom2 years ago

      Nosotros, ustedes…..por que……..i enjoyed your light hearted comment but, honestly, we’re all one. The sooner we started living like we actually believe it the better the HUMAN race will be.

  23. Marge Harper3 years ago

    Many people do not realise that many of the early settlers in the very early days were of Romany (Gypsy) heritage. Many were deported the America as Bond Slaves and stayed. There was much persecution of Gypsies in England and Germany in the 16th century and some travelled there of there own free will. Some married into the native tribes. There are still many Romany and Gypsy communities from all over Europe in America. Because of prejudice many pass themselves off as Latin American. Many of the slang words used in Boston slang are made up of Romany, which is more proof of the influence on the early American language. Pal derived from Phral meaning brother, Jazz derived from Jaz – to move quickly. The slang word Dude came from the Romani word Dudani meaning Bright and flashy. Something as every day as Lollypop came from the Romany Lolla Pobble or red apple, better known as a toffee apple sold at the fair.

    1. convairXF922 years ago

      Yes, out in Newton (suburb of Boston) the kids say “munch” for “guy”. Munch is straight out of Romanichal Gypsy. The story goes that in the Boston suburbs, Italians and Romanies worked together in certain industries; the Romani words spread from the Italians to the local youth culture.

      Do you know that both President Bushes (and Jeb) are descended from a Romani-Native American couple? Princess Little Dove wasn’t allowed to marry a white person, so she married a Romanichal. Their descendants merged into Rhode Island high society.

  24. Rich Mariner3 years ago

    Just come legally and be a part of the American culture. I worked for an old Mexican guy once that would yell at his workers for speaking Spanish. He told them point blank” if it was better where I came from I would have stayed there”. Meaning when you are in Rome you do as the Romans do not as a country and culture you left of your own free will does.

    What’s so hard to understand about that.

    1. George Fulmore3 years ago

      What’s so hard to understand that those Mexicans who chose to come to the U.S. come with an energy and, in most cases, a youth that is needed in our U.S. economy. And what is so hard to undertand that a blending of our cultures makes for a better, stronger culture. Don’t be a hater like Pat Buchanan and his ilk. That kind of hate will eat you up inside. Viva Los Estatos Unidos!

    2. JPT3 years ago

      In almost every circumstance is it very difficult for adults to learn a new language. It requires full time study, a luxury that immigrant workers don’t have. The point about coming legally is tricky because our immigration laws are very restrictive, particularly for people from Mexico and Latin America, compared to the Ellis Island days when virtually everyone was granted legal access.

      1. Fernando Rodriguez3 years ago

        You really do not need that much schooling, just put you mind to it, listen to the news in English even if you will not understand at the beginning, you will be surprised at how all of thew sudden you will be catching everything they say, of course you need good basics in your native language, to understand the grammar, I had those, my father was a journalist in Colombia and my skills in spanish were good, how can you understand the grammar in English if you can not understand your own grammar. I was born in a city and went to school there it helps a lot. Also when I was driving I always listen to English Stations on the radio, I did that inmersion for 10 years, even the music, I was listenning was English, Sinatra, the Beatles, country etc. you need to live as a native to become one…

        1. Jorge2 years ago

          Wonderful answer. You have the right attitude.

  25. jose3 years ago

    The Americanization of the United States. Less European immigrants and more immigrants from the Americas. USA becomes America.

  26. bigdoc3 years ago

    I would like to know the ancestry of the persons who have made disparaging comments about Mexicans in response to the data presented in this article. I teach at what is reputedly the 16th best university in the world. My experience is that my immigrant students from China, Mexico, Turkey, Korea, Ecuador, and Vietnam work much harder than the white students who were born here. They come here with many obstacles to overcome. I am reminded of my father who came here from Europe with no education. I currently have a student from Mexico who works full time as a security guard. He just finished one of the best reviews of our topic in physiology of any that I have seen thus far.
    I have been told that I am an example of the “Great American Success Story”. I own five houses all of which have beautiful views and three of which are waterfront. My father came to the US from Italy with a limited education. He experienced prejudice from White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, but never from Jews, Slavs, Blacks, Latinos, or Asians. Now there are Italian-Americans who have made it big that are following in the prejudicial footsteps of WASPs as they graduate from Yale, Stanford or Chicago. Some day Mexicans will graduate in large numbers from Michigan and Berkeley and they will be prejudiced against mermaids who will be forced to emigrate from the oceans because they are too polluted.

    1. David Wright3 years ago

      Thanks, +bigdoc
      Your comments mirror my experiences perfectly. I would add that if you go to the little towns in California’s Central Valley, you’ll find that the new middle class is filled with the sons and daughters of hardworking immigrants (some legal some not) and refugees. The immigrants I know love this country more deeply than the smug nativists who have no experience of anyplace else. I would guess that this is generally true across the country.

      Intermarriage rates between Latino immigrants and non-Latinos are higher than inter-ethnic marriage rates with previous ethnic groups. The speed of language acquisition is higher as well. Now that net immigration from Mexico is around zero, that process is bound to continue.

      The nativist fantasy of hordes of foreigners taking over is just that: a fantasy. If nativists genuinely wanted to encourage assimilation, they would be demanding increased funding for public schools, scholarships for universities, and supoorting the DREAM Act. They would be lobbying for aid to Central America to fight the gang violence there – one of the causes of current migration.

      BigDoc, thanks for your comment.

    2. Andrea3 years ago

      Thank you bigdoc for sharing us your positive comment about inmigrant mexican people. Really I feel sad that there are a prejudice from White Anglo-Saxon than other race, in USA. But some day, it will be finished. Jesus will be come again, and then there will not more discrimination. Iam living in Mexico City, I finished my career on Business, I have a job and I have a lot blessings from heaven. Mexico country has openned the doors to people from other nations and we don´t make a discrimination like US. God bless America!! God bless Mexico!!!

    3. Andy3 years ago

      Thank you bigdoc for sharing your comment about immigrants Mexican people.
      Iam really sad. Eventhough Iam living in Mexico City and I finished my career and have a job, I am conscious there are a lot discrimination from White Anglo-Saxon toward Mexican people than others. Somo day it will be finished. When Jesus will be come again. God bless America!! and God bless MEXICO!!!

  27. Dutch3 years ago

    I think a lot of those “UK” immigrants may actually have been Irish (pre Irish Republic) especially in Montana

    1. gerry mc dermott (@gerrymac6511)3 years ago

      Or at least Scots-Irish,ie from Ulster.

  28. Chuck Cooper3 years ago

    I think one of the issues that this research confirms is the supposed “failure to assimilate”. Smaller communities tend to assimilate more quickly due to necessity. With 53 million of your countrymen with whom you can socialize, including TV, Newspapers, radio and all other societal amenities in your own language, you can stay “aloof”. My Hungarian ancestors (two of six who settled in a tiny mining town in Arizona) were forced to learn to speak English, to rely on their neighbors for work, food, shelter, etc., thus assimilating quickly. The sheer numbers of Hispanics make it much easier to live the way they did before they moved to this country. I’ve heard it said that we never had “gang” issues until the Hispanic population explosion. Once again, numbers speak loudly. There have always been gangs (ask someone who lived in New York 50 years ago [Westside Story] and they will tell you. The numbers simply weren’t as large, the media outlets not as numerous, the information not distributed as effectively. Perhaps this information will help?

    1. Jim3 years ago

      I agree. Other than particular annual ancestry celebrations, where else can you find swarms of people waving a foreign (i.e., Mexican) flag and deriding the host country?

      1. Jose3 years ago

        That Mexican flag was flying since the early 19th century in half of the territory of this United States of America. That territory had people living there and mostly were Hispanics and Indigenous. The USA in order to be a power had to take those lands and their citizens. We are named Latinos because we speak and have a culture derived a Latin language and a very strong culture.

        1. Cristina3 years ago

          BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, dejate de tonterias. Eres o no eres Americano? [Estado-Unidense?] Fijate si a estas alturas vamos a demandar que los Visigods nos devuelvan la tierras del Norte de Europa. America is what America is, not what was in the 19th century. Grow up, would you have the “developed” California of old? Mexico did not do of California what it is today!!!

    2. JPT3 years ago

      Yes, there have always been gangs in this country dating back to before the turn of the century. Italian gangs, Irish gangs, Anglo gangs and so forth, at least in the big urban areas. They were every bit as big, violent and depraved as the existing gangs who now happen to be African-American, Hispanic and Asian. They have much in common. Yes, there is more media coverage of it now and there is a larger overall population now, but on a per capita basis, I would venture to guess it is lower now than it was back then.

      Also, the lack of assimilation comment is absolutely incorrect. It has been shown over and over again that the with each successive generation Latino immigrants are a) more English-speaking, b) identify more with being American and c) more educated, than their parents. There are several generations of data that confirm this. Whether or not it is faster or slower than other immigrant groups such as the Hungarians (who are a tiny group compared to the Germans, Irish, Italians and Mexicans), I don’t know. There are still some German speaking communities in the US as well as Italian, Asian and Dutch speaking communities, many, many years after the initial waves.

      I think comparing the Hungarian pattern of your ancestors to the larger immigrant groups is counterproductive, nor does it help in understanding the immigration phenomenon on the whole. One thing is clear: individual adults who migrate to another country will have a VERY DIFFICULT time assimilating, unless they are fortunate enough to have learned the target language in high school or college. Learning a new language from scratch is almost impossible for any adult head of household who works full-time and has a family. Your cultural attitudes will not change drastically, no matter what culture you come from. However, it is in the children where we see the most drastic evolution and/or assimilation. Assimilation is not an individual process, it is a collective process. Collectively, Latinos are assimilating very quickly. On an individual basis, someone who immigrates from Mexico (or any other country) will take a long time (if ever) to acquire the cultural and linguistic proficiency of a native. Yes, there are immigrant enclaves that slow the process for adults who immigrate, but every group of immigrants is naturally drawn to areas where there are people like themselves (for resources, family, familiarity). There have always been immigrant enclaves, immigrant in-language publications etc.

      So, in summary, we have experienced the next grand wave of immigration which happens to have come from Mexico not Europe and there is much that is in common with the earlier waves. Humans are humans after all and immigrating humans have largely the same motivations and values, overall.

  29. Roger Bertrand, P. Eng.3 years ago

    Good stats, see where the USA is headed for… It grew from 1900 till 2000 and since then it has begun a descent… would that be for the different mix of immigrants? I leave that to your judgement. I have mine.

    PS: and don’t limit that to MEXICO it is unjust, just say LATINOS.

    1. JPT3 years ago

      I don’t understand your comment. Can you clarify what you mean? Are you referring to a demographic descent (population decline)? From 1900 to 2000 there have been multiple waves of immigration including the latest Latin American wave. Immigration has declined since then.

  30. JoAnn Anglin3 years ago

    Does anyone know a source that compares immigration procedure/requirements then compared to now?

    1. Jean L.3 years ago

      The website uscis.gov has a history of immigration in the U.S. It’s the Immigration Service website. Click on History and Genealogy and then Our History. The federal government had very little involvement in immigration until 1875. They gradually became more involved, passing incremental laws through the early 1900’s. The laws became more restrictive because of citizen concern at the large number of immigrants coming from Eastern and Southern Europe. The website goes into more depth.

  31. Dormand Long3 years ago

    Those whose responsibility includes envisioning future trends might benefit from studying the changes that occurred between 1910 and 2010.

    It is abundantly clear that those parties not desiring extinction must find means of relating to the needs, wants and ambitions of Hispanics. The demographic changes clearly suggest that at some point in time, Hispanics will be as important in elections as are the swing states are today in presidential elections.

    Incidentally, given outstanding development Hispanic students can outperform their white or Asian peers, as demonstrated in the quarter century track record of Rafe Esquith’s Hobart Shakespeareans, based in one of the most intimidating parts of Los Angeles.

    These kids are completely transformed during nine months in Rafe’s classroom. Upon graduation from high school, these motivated students are sought out by the top colleges in America.

    1. Janice3 years ago

      Why come to another country, illegally, why not affect change in your country of birth ?

      1. Marcia3 years ago

        Based on my own ethnographic study of Mexican families, they come because they did not have enough to eat. They were desperate and had no power to change their government (read the history of Mexico). One woman asked me “Is it a sin to want to work?” because she did not understand the anti-immigrant attitude in the U.S.
        Some members of subsequent generations raised in the U.S., however, are in fact going back and changing Mexico from the ground up, e.g. starting businesses there (and dealing with the narco mafia by paying them “taxes” only because they have to). These families are amazing and parallel in many ways the European immigrants who came during the last century to the U.S.–except in one way: they are learning English more rapidly AND losing Spanish. My father was 5th generation German in Ohio and the FIRST not to speak German. Now I have to learn that language, instead of having it as a birthright, sigh.

        1. JPT3 years ago

          Very interesting comment and I agree. The Mexican and Latino immigrants have assimilated and learned English faster because they recognized the limitations of an inability to speak English. There is more prejudice against Mexicans due to their racial differentiation from the mainstream Anglo culture so being able to speak English can help mitigate that discrimination. There are whole generations of Mexican-Americans whose parents forbid them from speaking Spanish and who, indeed, only speak English for this reason. This was in the 60s 70s and 80s. Starting in the 90s, Latino immigrants realized that it was important for their kids to speak BOTH languages since it gave them an important advantage. So now, second generation kids are speaking both languages equally.

  32. David Cressy3 years ago

    Did I understand someone to say that there are no indigenous people in North or South America?

  33. Steve Randel3 years ago

    This research doesn’t surprise me and makes me wonder why many Mexicans are still considered “second class” folks in this country, unless they have money. Mexicans are a part of this country’s modern landscape and are our neighbors to the south. They should be treated just like Canadians, our neighbor to the north.

    1. Karl Beilstein3 years ago

      Several reasons: 1. the language barrier. I have had a lot of work done on my property lately, and find it hard to understand the workers. I must admit that they do work hard and well. 2. They are different in many subtle ways, and different is always accepted slowly just s it was with italian, Irish, German and other immigrants.

      1. JPT3 years ago

        Makes sense Karl. The problem lies in that 1st generation immigrants (those who immigrated as adults) don’t speak English very well and that creates an “otherness” that makes it hard for some native-born Americans to swallow. The communication barrier accentuates this. As mentioned earlier, it takes college-level full-time instruction in another language to become proficient in a new language as an adult, something an immigrant does not have the luxury of doing, usually.

        Kids have a much easier time of it. The kids of these immigrants, however, are usually more comfortable speaking English than Spanish due to their abundant exposure of it in school, high school and the workforce. If you meet the kids of these workers, you’ll see that they speak English better than Spanish, more often than not. This is assimilation in practice… a generational assimilation, not an individual assimilation. Take a blue-collar American worker, move him to France for several years to do labor-type jobs and see just how much he has “assimilated.” Assimilation happens generationally, not individually, unfortunately, so as long as people are still immigrating, there will always be a subset of immigrants that we encounter with a poor command of the English language and who still identify culturally with their country-of-origin, since that is where they were raised. But talk to their kids and you will see someone every bit as American as the non-immigrants in many ways.

  34. Willy Pimentel3 years ago

    Very insightful

  35. Chat3 years ago

    I think ok

  36. playyourpart3 years ago

    Damn Germans…Taking our jobs…living off the goverment…grumble grumble grumble…

    1. Tom3 years ago

      The “damn” Germans were farmers, who didn’t need to take anyone’s jobs to support themselves.

      1. Dan Coyne2 years ago

        Mexican laborers are not “taking” jobs either. They are recruited to work by large agricultural operations. They perform jobs that US citizens will not.

  37. Ann3 years ago

    Hawai’i became a State in 1959. We have a long history of people coming from many countries to work the sugar and pineapple plantations…not to leave out the Polynesian voyages who first settled these Islands.

    Guess we don’t count.

  38. Ileana Dominguez-Urban3 years ago

    Why does North Carolina not have any country listed in the 1910 map? I believe there were Scots in the mountains, but I don’t know what other groups.

    Oversight, or was there no majority group in that state.

    1. Paying Attention3 years ago

      It says why just below the map, in the fine print…
      “Sample size in North Carolina was too small to analyze in 1910”

    2. Tarheel3 years ago

      That shows how far NC has come over the past century. It was an impoverished state, half on poor farm land of red clay or rock. A century of good government to build roads, bring electrical power, emphasize education at all levels, have come together to create a booming state by the 1960s.

  39. Nicole Esposito Holland3 years ago

    North Carolina….telling people “y’all not welcome here.” since 1910.

    1. Jeff3 years ago

      Actually… North Carolina is said to have the 4th largest Spanish speaking population in the country. Immigrants come here because they can find work. As a right to work state, it would seem North Carolina is far more accepting of and hospitable toward foreign-born individuals than some of the more restrictive “progressive” states.

      1. slk3 years ago


      2. Cynthia Curran3 years ago

        Well, Texans hired them the most and complain a lot. In California the more Republican counties like Orange or Kern complain but hired them. So,the progressives probably do complain less about them than the conservatives states or areas. Right to work means cheap labor.

        1. slk3 years ago

          how cheap are the dues who’s work went to china???

  40. Izhak Belcourt3 years ago

    It looks like somebody has “recovered” some territory.

  41. Robert Ritchey3 years ago

    Alaska was not mentioned!

    1. Vinnygret3 years ago

      Yes it is! In 1910, they said the immigrant population was primarily from Canada and in 2010, it is primarily from the Phillipines. Of course, Alaska was not a state in 1910…

  42. Robert Ritchey3 years ago

    Please tell me, where is Alaska?

    1. Bryan3 years ago

      It’s just to the west of Canada and east of Russia.

    2. Johnny LaRue3 years ago

      Not far from sarah Palin’s front porch.

      1. JW3 years ago

        I think you are confusing Tina Fey with Sarah Palin.

        1. Janice Jones3 years ago

          No comparison. Tina Fay for president.

      2. Janice Jones3 years ago

        Good one !

    3. po’d3 years ago

      This map of the US shows AK just south of CA, AZ.

  43. Bill Lawrence3 years ago

    I see how the dominant immigrant nation in 1910 Pennsylvania was Austria. That would be Austria-Hungry and the dominant ethnicity would be Slavic. Just an FYI.

    Also, I note that the dominant immigrant nation for Mississippi and Florida in 1910 was Italy. I never would have guessed that.

  44. Jim Quinlan3 years ago

    Congress changed the US immigration rules in the 60s (maybe the 70s also) to follow UN guidelines. The changes were designed and intended to change the racial and ethnic make-up of the US. Same happened in Australia.

    So, rather than being able to control immigration by our own laws, the US bowed to the World.

    Of course, the recent wave from Latin America should not be called immigration, but invasion, since it is illegal and totally unmeasured.

    In legal immigration, we can still control disease and financial contribution — illegal does not, thus, the majority of the US’ social and education issues.

    1. David Wright3 years ago

      Yeeha! Get out your tinfoil hats!

  45. David “Log In” Hirsch3 years ago

    Hate to say it, but there is a difference between taking in immigrants who are seeking opportunity and immigrants fleeing poverty.
    Here’s the explanation for why the US used to be great and is turning into a toilet.

    1. Vinnygret3 years ago

      You’re going to have to explain that comment to me. In my opinion, fleeing poverty and seeking opportunity are pretty much the same general idea. I suspect that you are saying the Mexican immigrants are only fleeing poverty and their flight is somehow turning the United States into “a toilet.” When I was a volunteer teacher of English as a second language, I didn’t meet one person who wasn’t incredibly brave and who didn’t work much harder than I have worked in my whole life for far less money. I highly recommend volunteering in such a program and hearing the stories of some of these immigrants. When you get to know a few personally, your opinion of them may change. My grandparents came here from Poland, so I am a third generation immigrant myself. Unless your name is something like Running Bear, I suspect your family were immigrants as well. That illegal immigration thing started in 1492.

      1. Roygbiv3 years ago

        No, “illegal” immigration did not start until there were laws that criminalized it. Your statement that it started in 1492 shows your ignorance, as there are NO indigenous people to the North or South American continents. And I believe what Mr. Hirsch was saying is that the immigrants who come now are a less contributing group than those waves of the past. Granted, there wasn’t the government hand out infrastructure in 1910 like the massive, unchecked give away programs we enjoy now either.

        1. Richard Squire3 years ago

          Ancestors of the “American Indians” (“native Americans”) found through out the Americas were here from 10,000 to as much as 25,000+ years ago according to newest journal articles. They sound pretty indigenous to me! Homo sapiens migrated up from Africa into Europe and out through Asia, etc. many thousands of years before that. So, if the American Indians are not indigenous, than neither are the inhabitants of Europe, Asia, etc.

    2. Respondstodummies3 years ago

      Because the Irish weren’t fleeing poverty or anything. BTW: Please know your history, MOST Europeans who came to the U.S. we “fleeing” poverty. They were among the poorest of the poor.

    3. Lisa Em3 years ago

      Funny, Dave, that’s the same thing that people said about immigrants in 1910.

    4. Gabriel3 years ago

      Oh the Hypocrisy..

      It is the “citizens”of every nations right to bar and limit immigration to “their” country. Whats most puzzling and quite funny is how soon they forget how their own family arrived. Imagine the cruel irony: that only a few generations further, their own children would be passing legislation severing the very lifeline their kindred enjoyed. Imagine if the current immigration laws applied to the time their own relatives were making the journey. Would they still be here? Would they still snide about those who only wish to achieve what their own ancestors did years before?

      Your comment is appalling to me.

      1. Janice3 years ago

        Why come to another country, illegally, why not affect change in your country of birth ?
        We just want to stop all illegal immigration. Do it the legal way, you will be welcome.

  46. Keith Butler3 years ago

    Those charts and numbers don’t add up over the last several years. Looking at other factors: prejudice, intolerance, my-way or hi-way attitude you would think our most recent sources of immigrants were from those people of the middle east. They appear to be the least likely to share with their neighbors, to embrace peaceful co-existence.

    Perhaps it is time to build some railroads so other ethnic groups have a reason to move.
    Ten points if you can answer this dilemma.

  47. Mike3 years ago

    I think USA is making a huge environmental and economic mistake but heck I am an old guy juiced up by Garrett Hardin and Paul Ehrlich and the doomsday ” Population Bomb” of which I still hold to be true. Glad I will not have to face the future as climate change stresses the boundaries of the good earth.

    1. Bob Roberts3 years ago

      Mike I thought that way too until I saw the findings of a world heath doctor, Hans Rosling, using UN statistics. Take a look on YouTube for Hans Rosling: Stats that reshape your world-view.

      1. Bob Ching3 years ago

        Thanks Bob. I watched it “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVimVzgtD6w”. Fantastic (guaranteed for those who look at Pew results).

    2. slk3 years ago

      still waiting for an answer to what the dinosaurs and cavemen did to change the climate!!! but then again, everyday i experience “climate change”!!! it gets “warmer” till late afternoon, then gets “cooler” at night!!! and thats every single day!!!

    3. Dutch3 years ago

      You might want to read Malthus for comfort on our current state of affairs

  48. Buckoux3 years ago

    Are “immigrants” really immigrants or are they simply refugees? Few people leave their homeland when all is going good for them. So, from the Germans seeking land to farm and religious freedom, and the Irish seeking seeking famine relief, to the Mexican fleeing the poverty created by their corrupt government, are these people truly immigrating or are they seeking “refuge”? The answer to this question is important. That “America is a Nation of Immigrants” may be a romantic fallacy and a nation of refugees more historically accurate.

    1. Anya Arisohn3 years ago

      Ooohhh good comment. Def food for thought!
      Depending on which way you[we the peeps] address our nations immigration situation, between the two, drastically shifts the entire “plan”.
      Finding a way to fix our current tangled (not broken) immigration system, I believe, should include addressing this exact root cause & effect if we intend on getting it right.

    2. Josh3 years ago

      It depends how you define a refugee, but I think your point is good. I would say sometimes people move for positive reasons (i.e. more opportunity, more freedom, etc) rather than only negative (too oppressed, food shortages, etc).

  49. OJM3 years ago

    Does this include illegals….

  50. Steve Baker3 years ago

    Funny, you’d think America would be better at football (soccer) with those demographics

    1. Anya Arisohn3 years ago


    2. slk3 years ago

      germans play better!!!

    3. Reality3 years ago

      Mexico’s national soccer team had to face a playoff against New Zealand just to qualify for the WC finals as they finished FOURTH in their group behind the USA, Costa Rica and Honduras. The US has been much better than Mexico for quite awhile now.

  51. alberto garcia anaya3 years ago

    The book ” The next hundred years ” by george friedman talked about this. I’ts awesome you better read it

    1. Dutch3 years ago

      Love that book!