A new study, released by Pew Research Center, includes an interactive map and figures that show the decline in the number of Irish immigrants to the United States from 1850 to the present day.
The interactive map included in the study entitled “From Ireland to Germany to Italy to Mexico: Where Each State’s Largest Immigrant Group Was Born, 1850 to 2013” is part of the larger study by Pew “Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065.”
The study allows viewers to scroll through the decades, providing a visual representation of the changes in the largest number of immigrants by nation of origin for each state.
Pew comments on that fact that in “the 1850s the Irish were the largest immigrant group nationally and in most East Coast and Southern states. By the 1880s, Germans were the nation’s largest immigrant group in many Midwestern and Southern states.”
It was at this time that changes in the United States immigration policy impacted the source countries of immigration. By 1880 the Chinese had become “the largest foreign-born group in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada. But with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Chinese immigrants were prevented from entering the U.S. As a result, other immigrant groups rose to become the largest in those states.”
The dawning of the 20th century brought yet another new wave of immigration from southern and eastern Europe. In the 1930s Italy provided the most immigrants in nine states, including New York, Louisiana, New Jersey and Nevada.
Again in 1965 there was a big change in immigration law. Before the passage of the new law, people from Ireland, Germany and the United Kingdom were entitled to nearly 70 percent of the quota available to enter the United States.
After 1965 this was no longer the case. By the 1980s Mexicans had become the largest immigrant group in seven states, with the Chinese dominating in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, Indians in New Jersey and Filipinos in Alaska and Hawaii.
The study as a whole examines how in the last 50 years 59 million immigrants have arrived in the United States, how the foreign-born population is now near a record 14 percent, and “how modern-era immigrants and their descendants have accounted for just over half the nation’s population growth and have reshaped its racial and ethnic composition.”
The study’s projections show that “between 2015 and 2065, they are projected to account for 88% of the U.S. population increase, or 103 million people, as the nation grows to 441 million.”
Today, immigration to the U.S. is dominated by people born in Asia and Latin America, with immigrants from all of Europe accounting for only 10 percent of recent arrivals.
* Originally published in 2015.