Census statistics for immigrants in 1860

wausaubob

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Denver, CO
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
The Census Bureau took those web documents down. However, the University of Washington combined that data with other census data and produced an even more interesting depiction:
https://depts.washington.edu/moving1/migrationhistory-states.shtml
 

wausaubob

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Thanks. Boy, I was just looking at the Census docs a month or two ago.
The University of Washington presentation creates a stronger case for immigrants, and 1st generation US citizens, from New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, spreading explosively across Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Its nearly impossible to understand the Civil War without realizing the Midwest supplied soldiers to eastern and western armies, built and manned gunboats and transports, increased their population, and increased agricultural production, simultaneously.
Some immigrants may have fought for the US in the Civil War, but they certainly were the backbone of the industrial and agricultural labor force.
 

wausaubob

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Mr. Young is the expert in this area. But my conclusion is that immigrants and their 1st generation descendants were rapidly expanding the Midwest economy. The New York press was somewhat anti-immigrant and they regarded the west as a wilderness. But after July 1863 the people in the Midwest were experiencing the war years as an expansion.
On the east coast, the sailors were an international body of men, who had taken a distinct dislike to the slave trade, the anti-slave trade enforcement and the African coast in its entirety. The labor force at the major ship building centers also most likely employed many immigrants, especially in New York/Brooklyn.
 
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Pat Young

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The immigrants, like the women workers in light industry, made it possible for native born men to enlist in very large numbers.
Useful to remember that foreign-born men made up about a quarter of the men in the army and 40% of the men in the navy. The North was about a quarter immigrant, so they made up a proportional share of the fighting forces. In addition, new immigrants arriving during the war helped avoid the labor shortages that afflicted the Confederates after 1862.
 

wausaubob

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Useful to remember that foreign-born men made up about a quarter of the men in the army and 40% of the men in the navy. The North was about a quarter immigrant, so they made up a proportional share of the fighting forces. In addition, new immigrants arriving during the war helped avoid the labor shortages that afflicted the Confederates after 1862.
The affect on the navy forces was decisive. The international sailors were critical. Not only did the US have a vast number of armed vessels, but they chartered and rented even more. The two factors, the expanding Midwest and the rapidly growing navy, made any prospect of Confederate independence limited to some smaller and restricted, surviving country. There was nothing the Confederacy could do about those two factors.
 

wausaubob

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Denver, CO
Among the individual soldiers, Phil Sheridan, the 1st generation son of Irish immigrants stands out. Among the civilians, Lieber, McCallum, Carnegie and Ericsson are examples of the kind of talent that came to America looking for opportunity.
 

Lubliner

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Nov 27, 2018
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Chattanooga, Tennessee
I found this bit of interesting information concerning the return of dissatisfied emigrants.

Reflux of Emigration.

The New York Express says:

“We have before referred to the fact that large numbers of foreigners, who had sought an asylum on our shores, and not finding the ‘land of liberty’ all they anticipated it, were returning, and are daily ‘going back’ to their ‘fatherland.’ A morning contemporary estimates the total number of emigrants who have left this port, since the first of August last, at six thousand, or between ten and fifteen per cent on the total amount of emigration into this country during the same time.”

The Evening Star, Washington, D. C. October 10, 1854, Image 2.

Lubliner.
 

Fairfield

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Joined
Dec 5, 2019
According to genealogy writer Donna Przecha, statistics (based on 1908 when statistics on departures began to be collected), roughly 1/3 of all immigrants returned home--of course, some of these eventually re-emigrated. The reasons were many: some never intended to stay in the 1st place (either they just wanted to make money while others had been political ousters), elderly parents often went home (but their children stayed), and some simply lacked "pioneer spirit" or just didn't like life in US (too diverse, too hostile, didn't live up to expectations, etc).
 
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