Census statistics for immigrants in 1860

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I thought folks might be interested in Census statistics for immigrants in 1860 right before the Civil War.

Statistical Sources
“Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-1990”
Campbell J. Gibson and Emily Lennon
Population Division
U.S. Bureau of the Census
Washington, D.C. 20233-8800
February 1999
Population Division Working Paper No. 29

Foreign-born population in the US in 1860

In 1850, the US had 2.2 million foreign-born residents. By 1860, there were 4.1 million, nearly twice as many. The 4.1 million made up more than 13 percent of the total population.

Foreign-born population by country of birth in 1860
Ireland- 1.6 million
Germany- 1.2 million
Other Western Europe- 900,000
China- 35,000
Mexico- 27,000
Canada- 250,000
Eastern Europe

States and Territories with highest percentage of foreign-born in 1860
California- 38%
South Dakota- 37%
Wisconsin- 35%
Minnesota- 34%
Utah- 31%
Nevada- 30%
Washington- 27%
New York- 26%
Nebraska- 22%
Massachusetts- 21%
Rhode Island- 21%
Michigan- 20%
Illinois- 19%
New Jersey-18%
Connecticut- 17%
Iowa- 16%
Pennsylvania- 14%
Missouri- 14%

In 1860, the only southern state with a large immigrant population was Louisiana with 11 percent. South Carolina had 2 percent foreign-born and Georgia had 1 percent.

Overall, about 3.6 million foreign-born lived states that remained in the Union and 400,000 lived in the states that joined the Confederacy.

Cities with largest immigrant populations in 1860
New York City- 47%
Philadelphia- 30%
Boston- 36%
New Orleans- 38%
Cincinnati- 46%
St. Louis- 50%
Chicago- 50%
San Francisco- 50%
Milwaukee- 53%

More info
 
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jackt62

1st Lieutenant
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Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
Useful statistics that quantify the situation of immigrants at the onset of the CW. No surprise that the bulk of immigrants to the United States between 1850 to 1860 settled in northern or western states, with Irish and Germans being the largest groups.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
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Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
All White I would suspect. Easy to understand why Republicans wanted the Territories to be reserved for White Families. North just got that much Whiter. Fear of poor immigrants being locked in those Urban Areas Jobless.

New Orleans and St Louis being Port Cities. NYC replacing Charleston as a major Port. Shows how much Charleston had declined.
 

Paul Yancey

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Jan 13, 2019
Location
Kentucky
I always enjoy looking at demographics. I wonder if there is a table that breaks out the percentage of foreign born for each state by country of origin. I think it would be interesting to see which nationalities tended to migrate to particular states. I know that Wisconsin had a large German population and I would expect to see a large Chinese population in California.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Long Island, NY
Mexican residents of 1860 are a little problematic for the census takers. Some are native born, and others are not. Some are white, others are not. Etc.
Those in the Census were all Mexican-born, though the border may have crossed some of them.
 

Pat Young

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Location
Long Island, NY
That's right. There's a Chinese population that can be abused for less than poverty wages in the west included in there. The point you're avoiding is still standing.
If you are interested in Mid-19th Century Chinese immigration, these links will take you to some threads I have written on the subject:

1870 Chinese exclusion from Naturalization Reform

Targeting of Italian, Jewish, and Chinese immigrants

Chinese and the Transcontinental Rail Road

The Chinese Exclusion Cases

Keeping the Chinese Out

The Naturalization Color Bar and Chinese Immigrants

The Push to Allow Chinese to Naturalize

The 14th Amendment and the Children of Chinese Immigrants

I am happy to look over any of your research on 19th Century Chinese immigration.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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The whole Mexican immigration numbers of 150 years ago thing must have been tougher to track. I mean, considering the massive chunk of this country that was Mexico ( inclusive of the entire state of Texas, head north from there ) until they was decided it wasn't means the population of another country ( Mexico ) instantly became American citizens. I know we like to fondly imagine that border magically in place, crickets and men in cowboy hats north of it. 1848. Like I said, the 1860 census must have been a bear to do.

Were Mexican citizens, who'd lived in those areas for generations ( and HOW old is Mexico? ) counted as immigrants?
 

Bruce Vail

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Joined
Jul 8, 2015
The whole Mexican immigration numbers of 150 years ago thing must have been tougher to track. I mean, considering the massive chunk of this country that was Mexico ( inclusive of the entire state of Texas, head north from there ) until they was decided it wasn't means the population of another country ( Mexico ) instantly became American citizens. I know we like to fondly imagine that border magically in place, crickets and men in cowboy hats north of it. 1848. Like I said, the 1860 census must have been a bear to do.

Were Mexican citizens, who'd lived in those areas for generations ( and HOW old is Mexico? ) counted as immigrants?

Just finished reading a book about Texas in the 1800s. Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. So that means that a lot of older residents of Texas, California, New Mexico etc. in 1860 had been born as subjects of the Spanish crown and were later citizens of Mexico. Many Texans, of course, had also been citizens of the Republic of Texas between 1836 and 1846.

Not sure how these people obtained their US citizenship....
 

Pat Young

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Long Island, NY
Just finished reading a book about Texas in the 1800s. Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. So that means that a lot of older residents of Texas, California, New Mexico etc. in 1860 had been born as subjects of the Spanish crown and were later citizens of Mexico. Many Texans, of course, had also been citizens of the Republic of Texas between 1836 and 1846.

Not sure how these people obtained their US citizenship....
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided for citizenship to those in the annexed territories. These was later contentious debate that some who were entitled to citizenship did not receive it.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided for citizenship to those in the annexed territories. These was later contentious debate that some who were entitled to citizenship did not receive it.

Really??? Goodness. Or, of course there was. That portion of our history always worries me and terribly. The part where you can kinda walk into someone's house and say " Get out ". I forget which Native American tribes lived there from the top of my head- to them, we were the immigrants, too. We must have been the worst house guests ever.
 

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided for citizenship to those in the annexed territories. These was later contentious debate that some who were entitled to citizenship did not receive it.

Hah! Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 'provided' for the citizenship of those in the annexed territories?

I guess that means that male landowners (white Anglos only) were granted the privilege of legal rights under US law. Everybody else? Not so much.
 
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