Eastern European Immigration Patterns to the USA







Eastern European Immigration Patterns to the USA

Immigration to the United States is a complicated demographic consideration that has contributed to cultural change and population growth in the United States. The social, political and economic aspects of this phenomenon have led to controversy regarding economic benefits, employment for non immigrants, ethnicity, voting behavior, and settlement patterns. In the year 2006, the United States had accepted more permanent residence immigrants than all other worldwide countries combined. After immigration ethnic quotas were eliminated, the number of United States immigrants eventually quadrupled. The leading countries contributing to immigration to the United States include India, Mexico, Philippines, China, and Europe. This paper will focus on European Immigration to the United States and the patterns involved (Cohn, 2001).

Beyond half of Europeans immigrating to the United States in the 17th and 18th century period arrived as indentured servants (Cohn, 2001). The mid 19th century witnessed influx from Southern, Northern, and mainly Eastern Europe from Asia and Latin America. Historians suggest that an estimated 400,000 European immigrants used the Atlantic Ocean to access the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries. The early years of America witnessed little immigration from Eastern Europe up to only 8,000. However, up to the 20th century, European immigrants largely increased to thirty million. In the course of their transatlantic voyages, death rates were high with one European immigrant dying in every seven.

Every European migrating into the United States had different reasons. Between the years 1880 and 1915 alone, over thirty five million European natives left their country behind to migrate to the United States (Carlson, 2000). Issues pertaining to political and economic conditions, population growth, industrialization and urbanization degrees, led to this migration. For example, religious and political discontent facilitated migration of Eastern Europeans into the United States between the seventeenth and eighteenth century. This was largely influenced by the renewed Napoleon warfare in Germany. Many people were forced out due to the harsh forest and taxation laws (Carlson, 2000).

From England, emigration due to political reasons was massive in the nineteenth century, and greatly reduced after the introduction of the reform bill. In Germany however, the 1830 revolutionary movement oversaw massive departure of its natives into the United States. At this time, this reaction was as a result of harsh political oppression. In the early nineteenth century, religious discontent in Prussia led to its natives migrating to the United States. The failed attempts of revolutionizing Europe in 1951, especially Germany, ended up in a struggle against monarchial institutions (Carlson, 2000). Ultimately, the following years witnessed an increase in the Eastern European emigration towards America. In the course of this period, political issues after Prussian warfare between Austria and Denmark, and the Alsace Lorraine annexation in the German empire, all facilitated political emigration in the United States.

In addition, the large part of the nineteenth century saw lower class natives in both Germany and Ireland living under continuous starvation. Incompetent governance, pernicious legislation, untapped human resource, ignorance modern production methods, and inadequate means of learning and application all reduced the natives of Eastern Europe to low wage earners. They would eventually immigrate to the United Sates as a means of seeking better livelihood conditions (Carlson, 2000). After the European revolution, a period of peace, prosperity and good harvests followed. This would only translate to rapid increase in population through out the nineteenth century. As a means of easing up on the population, natives migrated from Eastern Europe to the less populated United States.

Currently, the United States has a dream of delivering better lives to its immigrants usually in terms of personal freedom and financial prosperity. However, the government has become stricter when allowing immigrants into the nation to avoid overpopulation and negative effects on the economy.



Carlson, A. W. (January 01, 2000). One century of foreign immigration to the United States: 1880-1979. International Migration (Geneva, Switzerland), 23, 3, 309-34.

Cohn, R. L. (January 01, 2001). A comparative analysis of European immigrant streams to the United States during the early mass migration. Social Science History, 19, 1, 63-89.



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