| Questions to Consider
Country of Origin and Year of Entry into the U.S.
U.S. Census Bureau
In March 1996, 9.3 percent (24.6 million) of the U.S. population were foreign born. During the twentieth century, the percentage who were foreign born declined from a high of 14.7 percent in 1910, to a low of 4.8 percent in 1970. Since then, the percentage has increased steadily. More than one-quarter of the foreign-born population of the United States has come into this country since 1990, and another 34.3 percent entered during the 1980s. The remaining 38.9 percent have been here more than 15 years. As students analyze the chart, make sure they understand the impact the large number of Hispanic immigrants has on the United States. As they compare the figures in the last section of the chart, make sure they remember that figures from the decade of the 1990s are incomplete. (You can find similar exercises by searching for "immigration" on this CD.)
The foreign-born population in the United States is not homogeneous. There are great differences in their demographic, social, and economic characteristics, not only based on country of origin but also related to how long they have lived here and whether they have become citizens. For instance, recent arrivals to this country are more likely to be poor, have lower incomes, and higher unemployment rates than the native born. But foreign-born people who have been here more than six years seem to have overcome their initial economic hardships. In fact, those who arrived during the 1970s are doing as well as natives in terms of income in 1997.
Questions to Consider
- From the figures in the chart, what is the country of origin of most U.S. immigrants?
- What region of the world is the birthplace of most U.S. immigrants?
- After examining the figures in the second part of the chart, explain the trend you see.
- Speculate on the effects of these changing immigration patterns on the nation's political and social activities.
|COUNTRY OF ORIGIN AND YEAR OF ENTRY INTO THE U.S. OF THE FOREIGN BORN, BY CITIZENSHIP STATUS: MARCH 1997|
| ||(Numbers in thousands)|
|Country of Origin||Number||Percent|
China and Hong Kong
|Came to the United States|| || |
|All years of entry||25,779||100.0|
1970 to 1979
1980 to 1989