Immigrants and Their Children, 1850-1950

Immigrants and Their Children, 1850-1950

Immigrants and Their Children, 1850-1950

Immigrants and Their Children, 1850-1950

Excerpt

The 1950 Census completes a full century of census information on the foreign-born population of the United States, and information on the children of the foreign born has been collected for almost as long. The census data on the first and second immigrant generations thus cover a period of great population growth and economic development in the United States; and throughout this period the foreign born and their children have constituted a considerable fraction of the population and labor force. The question of what influence immigration has had on the population and economic growth of the United States has not been -- and perhaps cannot be -- fully answered, but the census reports from 1850 onward still contain much unexploited information on the immigrant component of the population and labor force.

This monograph is in part a survey and a guide to census data on immigrants and their children in the population and labor force. Since much of the material up to and including that for 1920 is summarized in an earlier census monograph, Niles Carpenter Immigrants and Their Children, 1920, the present volume gives particular attention to changes since 1920 in the composition (Chapter 2) and geographical distribution (Chapter 3) of the first and second immigrant generations, then surveys occupational data from the Census of 1870 and later censuses that were not used by Carpenter (Chapters 4 to 9 inclusive). Current occupational data for immigrants and their children are derived from a special tabulation of a sample of the white experienced civilian labor force in 1950 (Chapters 9 and 10).

Over the years many changes have taken place in census practice with respect to the recording and classification of nativity, parentage, country of origin, occupation, etc. To make the published data more readily available and interpretable, the composition of the census material is described in the text; the instructions to enumerators, relating to nativity and parentage, in the Census of 1850 and each later census are given in full in Appendix A; and detailed notes on the reporting of nativity, parentage, color or race, country of origin, and enumeration area are assembled in Appendix B. Changes from census to census in the occupational classification create the most troublesome problems of comparability. Occupational data for the censuses of 1870 to 1900 inclusive, which are on a predominantly industrial basis, are summarized as given in the census reports, with only minor adjustment for changes in the composition of occupational groups (Chapters 5 to 8, inclusive). The individual occupational categories . . .

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