CHART: America’s Second Great Wave of Immigration

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Feb. 27 2014 5:55 PM

America’s Second Great Wave of Immigration

noncitgraphic

Census.gov

The chart above, from the official blog of the U.S. Census Bureau, tracks America’s foreign-born population in both raw numbers and as a percentage of the total population. As the bureau’s Elizabeth Grieco writes, we’re now experiencing a period of immigration not seen since the first great wave around the turn of the last century.

“Between 1880 and 1930, the foreign-born population represented between 12 and 15 percent of the total population,” she writes. After a long decline through most of the 20th century, we’re now back up to about 13 percent.

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Obviously, not all Americans will feel great about this—including large numbers of those whose families arrived as part of the last great wave—though the fact that this number is likely to start shrinking again soon due to lower rates of immigration might be the larger cause for concern.   

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

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