US Immigration
-3 main eras of immigration
  • 1st was the colonies (90% English, Germans, and Africans) -surge during the 1840s and 50s (Germans the highest)
  • 2nd was was from 1850 to the early 1900s (Western to Eastern (first Germans and Scandanavians) and Souther Europeans 1890s to early 1900s South and East Europe)
    • At peak, 14% of US Population was foreign-born
  • 3rd began in the 1970s and continues today (Hispanics and Asians)
    • -immigration dropped because of the quota laws and the Depression and WWII
    • but picked up again during the time after and surged during the 1970s
    • -in 2006, Mexico passd germany as the country that hs sent the US the most
    • immigrants (1986 immigration and Reform act)
    • -next largest sources Dominican Rep., El Salvador (from Latin Am.)
    • -Asia was the largest source of immigrants during the 70s uand early 80s
    • -China, Philippines, India, and Vietnam

Quota Laws
''Immigration acts of 1965 and 68 eliminated quotas but set up hemisphere quotas and
then in 1978, countries were limited to 20,000 per country with a total of 290,000 for the
  • Currently, 620,000 global limit with only 7% from any given country but there are exceptions
  • refugees are admitted if deemed to be genuine
  • preference is given for family members but the ydo count as part of the quotas
  • there are some exceptions for highly skilled workers

Brain Drain
This is the loss of intelligent and skilled workers in LDCs
  • World Bank found these countries have a large percentage of their college grads living abroad 85% Haiti, 47% Ghana, 45% Mozambique, 30% (all of these Uganda, Angola, Somalia, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Kenya


Internal Migration of the United States

What Is Internal Migration?
  • The terms internal and international migration gets easily confused. International migration is the permanent movement from one country to another. Internal migration is the movement within the same country permanently.
  • There are always more internal migrants compared to international migrants. Internal migration is considered to be more convenient because unlike international migration, even though people move, they can still find familiar food, language, culture, and social customs after they move. Internal migration involves short distanced migration. Russia and the U.S. however would be an exception since they are both large countries, making long distanced migration a possibility.

Interregional and Intraregional Migration

Internal migration can be divided into interregional migration and intraregional migration.

* Interregional migration is the movement from a country’s region to another region.
* Intraregional migration is the movement within only one region.

Both these types of migrations usually tend to occur due to desired improvements in life after disastrous environmental and political conflicts, better economic conditions, or changes in lifestyles. Interregional and intraregional migrations are both voluntary opposed to forced migration and the migration transition.

The Western Frontier, Seventeenth Century to Nineteenth Century

From the times of the earliest European settlements, a western-moving edge of newly available land triggered waves of migratory European-descended Americans in pursuit.

  • The people who participated in these successive migrations usually traveled in groups linked by kinship, business interests, or geographic proximity in their former communities.
  • Most were motivated by opportunities for economic gain, while a minority, such as the Shakers and the Mormons, sought to live out their religious and social ideals in isolated communities of their own devising.
  • Generally, settlers moved west from adjacent areas in the East.
  • Waves of non-English-speaking newcomers from Europe joined the national migration and, by 1850, the United States had been settled all the way to the Mississippi.
  • Germans were the most plentiful; many established enclaves in burgeoning cities such as Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and St. Louis
  • Irish and Chinese immigrants made a pool of potential laborers for the hard, dangerous, low-paying jobs on the new railroads surging west.


Interregional Migration and the Great Migration
Interregional migration is an example of rural to urban migration. An example of interregional migration would be The Great Migration.
  • The Great Migration occurred in the U.S was the mass movement of 1.4 million African Americans that moved out of Southern states and migrated to Northern, and Midwest states in order to leave racism behind and seek job opportunities.
  • The first Great Migration occurred in the years 1910 to 1940.
  • The second Great Migration occurred between the years 1940-1970.
This is an example of interregional migration because during the Great Migration, African Americans moved from one region of the U.S to another region on order to seek job opportunities and leaving racism behind. Since the 1920’s, the African American population has changed from being almost entirely rural, to more the 90% urban.

Migration to the Cities
  • While some nineteenth century Americans sought the wide open spaces of the frontier, others migrated to the growing urban centers. In America's largest eighteenth century cities Charleston, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston as in Europe, the most desirable place to live was the center of the city.
  • By the 1870s cities offered street lighting, municipal water, and police and fire services, but many white Protestants increasingly viewed cities as centers of crime, immorality, and disease as non-English-speaking immigrants crowded into dangerously run-down housing, and factories spread noise and pollution.
  • Whatever amenities, such as sewers, a city had to offer were most likely to be centrally located, and most people walked to work. However, the majority of people lived in rural areas; in 1790 only 5.1 percent of the population lived in cities.
  • The majority of the movement to the cities happened during the early 1900s (America was majority urban by 1921)
  • The industrial revolution reversed that trend. New jobs in industries spawned by steam power brought migrants into the cities from played-out farms and accommodated the flood of foreign immigrants too poor to travel far from their port of arrival. By 1890, one-third of all Americans lived in cities, but two-thirds of all immigrants did. African Americans, too, poured into northern cities from the rural South. In the years since 1920, the black population has changed from being almost entirely rural to more than 90 percent urban.

From Urban to Suburban
  • Property outside the central city became more attractive as transportation to and from work became more reliable. At midcentury a few suburbs, such as Lewellyn Park, New Jersey, and Riverside, Illinois, designed specifically for rich businessmen and their families, appeared outside New York, Chicago, and other major cities. These imitated the Romantic ideal of an uncorrupted retreat in the country with winding, irregular roads and large lots that followed the contours of the land.
  • The majority of the suburban movement happened during the time after WWII. This is when cars and highways made easy access for the average man out to the suburb. The need for single-family homes from soldiers returning home also fueled the growth. See the article on the suburbs for more details.

  • Counter-Urbanization
  • Movement out to rural areas (areas that were rural but became the suburbs)
  • Suburbanization accelerated in the twentieth century, propelled by the advances of the trolley system and later the automobile. Some of the migration to the suburbs resulted from racial and cultural insecurities; "white flight," the exodus of white families from cities in the wake of school desegregation, began in the mid-1950s.
  • As of 2002, many suburbanites no longer commuted into the city at all, as corporate headquarters have followed them beyond the city's edge. In 1950, 23 percent of the population lived in suburbs; in 1998, 50 percent lived there.
  • Counter-urbanization is an example of intraregional migration.
  • After the Great Migration to Northern cities occurred, cities became viewed as being a dangerous, violent, and crime infested place to live. This caused suburbs to be seen as safe places that were fit to raise a family without worrying about violence. This was a trend called “white flight” which was the movement of white families that occurred in parts of the U.S. around the 1950’s.
  • Another factor that contributed to counter-urbanization, which led to intraregional migration would be the suburban ideal. The suburban ideal was a long standing American idea that land ownership meant wealth, and that home ownership was equivalent to security in American culture. This is an example of intraregional migration because the movement of people occurred within the same region. In the 1950’s, about 23% of the population live in suburbs. In 1998, the percent increased to be up to 50%.


Sun Belt Migration
  • Since 1960 Americans have migrated south and west to the band of states known as the Sun Belt, following jobs, a warmer climate, and sometimes a lower cost of living.
Note: Hundreds of thousands of retirees have settled there as well. Florida has always had a large retired population, but from 1990 to 1998, Nevada's over-65 population jumped 55 percent, while Arizona's gained 29 percent, Utah's grew by 22 percent, and the elderly in Colorado and New Mexico increased by 21 percent.

United States and Internal Migration
The 2000 United States Census Bureau published a special report on domestic worker migration, with a focus on the movement of young, single, college-educated migrants. The data shows a trend of such people moving away from the Rust Belt and northern Great Plains region towards the West Coast and Southeast. The area with the largest net influx of young, single, college-educated persons was the San Francisco Bay Area.

The country as a whole does not experience a large-scale brain drain to other countries, since it is often the destination of skilled workers migrating from elsewhere in the world. However, the U.S. (like other countries) have been experiencing widespread rural depopulation in the past few decades which has seen many rural workers with high skills move to urban/suburban areas - this has negatively impacted rural communities in the U.S.

Cultural Component


Lutherans in the Upper Midwest
Catholics in the Northeast and the Middle West
Catholics in the Southwest
Mormons in Utah and parts of Idaho
Catholics in southern Florida
Catholics in southern Louisiana
A lack of change in rural areas
Lack of cultural change in the south
The nature of the Baptist religion
Patterns of Europeans


The Mormons were a new religion and the other, more established Christians did not like their beliefs (polygamy, differing views on what Christ did and where he went). The Mormons attempts to convert people would have caused conflicts. By going out west to Utah, they could separate themselves from others and put themselves outside of the authority of others and establish their own society.

Also note that others were not likely to follow the Mormons as they went to a harsh, arid climate. The area they went to was rural and did not attract people during the 18 to E1900s as it lacked the urban areas and industrialization found in the Midwest and Northeast at that time. Even today, there are not many large cities in Utah.

Germans and Scandinavians chain migrated to the area of the upper-Midwest. In part to stay together within their culture and in part as a result of railroad companies and state governments that recruited groups as a whole to work in those areas. It should be noted that that northern climate is similar to the climate the one found in the upper-Midwest. They were already acclimated to that environment (preadaptation).

Note that the areas that Lutherans dominate today, are still dominant because they are rural. Understand that rural areas used to attract people but farming areas even with good climates and ideal conditions do not attract people past the late 1800s as people are no longer going for those jobs
Lack of later in-migration


Baptist religion matured and attracted adherents early in the history of the South
-no requirement for credentialed clergy meant it was easy to start and easy to put some of your own beliefs into this yet still be Baptist
-Appealed to African Americans as they could make their own churches / other churches excluded them
-Also appealed to racist whites that could form their own Baptists churches to go along with their pro-slavery ideology

Special note on the South: The south was more openly antagonistic towards outsiders which kept immigrants out until most recently. The south also did not encourage labor to go there in the 1800s.

Roman Catholics
Germans / Irish to the Northeast / Great Lakes in the mid-1800s
-Remember that this was the area creating jobs and cities at this time till the mid1900s
-Companies advertised for labor in Europe

Southern and Eastern Europe to Northeast / Great Lakes
-Remember that this was the area creating jobs and cities at this time till the mid1900s
-Advertises for immigrant labor because they will work for low pay/exploitable.

Hispanics and Filipinos to Northeast / Great Lakes (Cities)
-Drawn to the urban areas for cheap labor and third sector jobs (services)

Latin America / Mexico to the Southwest
-Proximity to the Mexico/Latin America reflects influence of the gravity model, distance decay
Hispanics to Florida
-proximity to countries like Cuba and Central and South America
-chain migration
-access to service sector jobs
-refugees from Cuba come over due to the connection of the United States to Cuba and failed attempts of the US to use Cubans to overthrow the government (Bay of Pigs)

Special Note on Hispanics – outside of urban areas and in particular in areas with high concentrations of Hispanics, you will find Hispanics in rural areas. That is also because Hispanics are more likely to work in jobs in agriculture


Minorities are not evenly distributed across the United States. Some are more dominant in certain ares of the United States while not apparent at all in other areas.

The reasons for lack of in-migration noted above for differing religions would also affect minority populations. Recent minorities, Asians and Hispanics will notably be absent from rural areas. Hispanics are sometimes an exception to his as they often come to America for agricultural jobs. but in areas lacking agricultural jobs and that are not close to Mexico, you will notice a lack of Hispanics.
-in the South, Hispanics and Asians have long had the perception that the area is hostile towards outsiders / minorities
-until recently, the South was less urban and had a lack of factory jobs (this has changed in the last 25 years
-Raventstein would note that migrants would go to a large city which the South largely did not have until recently
-African Americans are dominant in the rural southeast due to the history of slavery but they are largely absent from other rural areas of the United states
--hositle feeling and restrictive covenants and real estate practices kept them from going out into suburban or rural areas

The Great Migration
-brought African Americans to the cities / along with their cultures and traditions (Baptists as a minority religion in cities north of the traditional South)
-African Americans went to cities connected by rail to the North
--agriculture as a job was diminishing
--factory jobs up north (especially during WWII)
--Jim Crow laws pushed them out
--But even within the cities in the north, African Americans were segregated

-more likely to be in the Southwest (Mexicans in particular)
-Florida has a large Hispanic population as well (Cuban, South and Central America)
--Cuba has a special relationship with the United States (because of The Bay of Pigs and other issues with US involvement, the US has a more lenient wet foot / dry foot policy with Cuba.
-Ravenstein -outside of the southwest, Mexicans and Hispanics are more likely to go to urban areas
-Rural areas did not appeal as they lacked jobs

-since they originally started coming in the 1800s, Asians were more concentrated on the west coast
-Then they were restricted from migrating to the US until the late 1960s
-Ravenstein -outside of the west, they gravitate towards larger cities
-Rural areas did not appeal as they lacked jobs ,industry and cities

  • Note that the jobs attracting people would change over time