Foreign Born Population in the US | 1850/2019

Immigration to the United States has always been an element of cultural change and population growth across the country. In fact, in 2019, the % of immigrants in the U.S. population is estimated to be 13.7% or nearly 45 million. Not only that, the U.S. represents the top destination, globally, in terms of immigration. Of the total 271.5 million global migrants, more than 21% – more than one in five -, have come to the United States. In today’s article we’ll look at this first by trying to understand what nationalities Foreign Born Population in the US comes from. Then we will analyze the total data involving this phenomenon. Foreign Born Population in the US

Foreign Born Population in the US | 1850/2019

Let’s start by analyzing the earliest available data. What were the nationalities of origin of the Foreign Born Population in US in 1850? In first place – here you can see the data – we find Ireland. Ireland in 1850 was the nation of origin with the highest number. In fact the immigrants coming from this nation were almost 1 million. A very high figure since the total immigrant population in the same year was about 2 million and 200 thousand people. In second place we find Germany and in third place the United Kingdom with 583 thousand and 388 thousand respectively. These three nations together, if we add up the data, covered about 87% of the total. It is interesting to note that in the middle of the nineteenth century most of the foreign population came from European countries. In the top 15 nations, in fact, we also find France, Switzerland, Norway, Holland, Italy, etc. From Mexico in 1850 came only 13317 people. A figure that, as we will see, today is much higher.

Over the years the numbers begin to climb and the United States becomes increasingly attractive. After 30 years Germany surpasses Ireland, in the 1880’s, with more than 2 million people. Germany remains in the lead for many years until the mid ’20s when Italy becomes to all intents and purposes the first nation in the world for number of foreign born population in us. Until the early 1960s, the United States became the destination to be reached for many Italians. The data of 1960 tell us in fact of more than 4 million people from the European peninsula…

From the ’60s onwards, the figures of the European nations, also due to the strong growth in economic terms, begin to decrease. In Italy the ’60s are in fact defined as the years of the economic boom. From the ’70s Mexico took the first place and has held it for almost 50 years.

In 2019, Mexico, in fact, has the highest number of foreign born population in the US. The figure in fact is about 11 million people. In the ranking of the first 15 nations we no longer find the countries of Europe but some countries of Asia and America. India and China in fact are respectively in second and third place with almost 5 million people who have moved to the United States. In fourth place are the Philippines with over 2 million, followed by El Salvador, Vietnam and Cuba. Among the countries of origin with over 1 million inhabitants we also find the Dominican Republic and South Korea with 1,063,524. Haiti closes the top 15 positions with 679,788.

Percentage of foreign born population by State (in US)

We have seen the data at the national level. But which US states have the highest percentage of people born in another country? The highest figure, in percentage terms, is that of California. In California, 26.7% of the total population was born in another state. New Jersey follows with 23.4%. Four states are above 20%. In addition to California and New Jersey, there are also historic New York and Florida. These two states have a share of 22.4% and 21.1% respectively. The national average is 13.7%. Montana comes in at 2.3%, Mississippi at 2.1% and West Virginia at 1.6%.

Statistic: Percentage of foreign-born population in the United States in 2019, by state | Statista
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U.S. Population from 1790 to 2020

If above we saw the data of the population arrived in the United States over time in this chapter we try to analyze another theme. How much has the total population grown in the United States? We can say right off the bat that from 1785/90 to 2020 the population of the United States has grown almost 100 times. From 3.5 million in the 1780s and 3,939,214 in the 1790s, it has grown to 331.5 million in 2020. U.S. population growth has been steady, decade by decade. The highest figure, in terms of percentage change, was from 1840 to 1850. In fact, the population in this period grew by +35.9% from 23,191,876 to 31,443,321. Growth that was similar from 1850 to 1860 with +35.6%.

The U.S. population exceeded the 100 million mark between 1910 and 1920. In contrast, the 200 million figure was surpassed in the late 1960s and the 300 million figure between the 2000s and the 2010s. Today, growth in percentage terms is much lower than in the 19th century. In 2020, growth since 2010 is counted at +9.7%. But what has definitely increased are the absolute numbers. In fact, from 2010 to 2020, the number of inhabitants has grown by 23 million.

Obviously, since 1790 the states of the US have also changed. Below you can see the distribution over time from 1790 to 2020. In 2020 the State with the highest number of inhabitants is California with 39,538,223 inhabitants. Texas follows with 29 million and New York with 20 million. Compared to 1900, for one example, the distribution of population at the state level has definitely changed.

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This article took me several hours to complete. The sources used are diverse, from the world bank to dsl richmond via census data to pew research.

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