After Ellis Island

After Ellis Island: Newcomers and Natives in the 1910 Census

Edited by Susan Cotts Watkins
Copyright Date: 1994
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 472
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610445511
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    After Ellis Island
    Book Description:

    After Ellis Islandis an unprecedented study of America's foreign-born population at a critical juncture in immigration history. The new century had witnessed a tremendous surge in European immigration, and by 1910 immigrants and their children numbered nearly one third of the U.S. population. The census of that year drew from these newcomers a particularly rich trove of descriptive information, one from which the contributors toAfter Ellis Islanddraw to create an unmatched profile of American society in transition.

    Chapters written especially for this volume explore many aspects of the immigrants' lives, such as where they settled, the jobs they held, how long they remained in school, and whether or not they learned to speak English. More than a demographic catalog,After Ellis Islandemploys a wide range of comparisons among ethnic groups to probe whether differences in childbirth, child mortality, and education could be traced to cultural or environmental causes. Did differences in schooling levels diminish among groups in the same social and economic circumstances, or did they persist along ethnic lines? Did absorption into mainstream America-measured through duration of U.S. residence, neighborhood mingling, and ability to speak English-blur ethnic differences and increase chances for success?After Ellis Islandalso shows how immigrants eased the nation's transition from agriculture to manufacturing by providing essential industrial laborers.

    After Ellis Islandoffers a major assessment of ethnic diversity in early twentieth century American society. The questions it addresses about assimilation and employment among immigrants in 1910 acquire even greater significance as we observe a renewed surge of foreign arrivals. This volume will be valuable to sociologists and historians of immigration, to demographers and economists, and to all those interested in the relationship of ethnicity to opportunity.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-551-1
    Subjects: Population Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. LIST OF FIGURES
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)
    Susan Cotts Watkins

    This volume portrays immigrants and their children as they passed through the 1910 census. In 1910, 14.6 percent of the total population enumerated in the U.S. Census was foreign-born, higher than in any subsequent census; in contrast, an estimated 8.5 percent of the 1990 population are foreign-born (United States 1913, p. 125; Passel and Edmonston forthcoming). If one counts the children of the foreign-born as well, approximately one-third of the 1910 population was of foreign stock, in contrast to about one-fifth in 1990 (United States 1913, p. 126; Passel and Edmonston forthcoming). Although the numbers of foreign-born and foreign stock...

  8. 2 BACKGROUND: ABOUT THE 1910 CENSUS
    (pp. 11-34)
    Susan Cotts Watkins

    This chapter introduces the 1910 census and the categories used frequently in this volume.¹ Much, for example, rests on how ethnic groups are defined by place of birth and/or mother tongue; it is thus important to know not only how these are defined but also what problems these definitions present. The second aim of this background chapter is to caution against reification of the categories used in the following analyses. The 1910 census was of high quality, and the 1910 Public Use Sample (PUS) is a random sample of that census. However, there are inevitable discrepancies between the “true” nature...

  9. 3 CHILD MORTALITY DIFFERENCES BY ETHNICITY AND RACE IN THE UNITED STATES: 1900–1910
    (pp. 35-82)
    Samuel H. Preston, Douglas Ewbank and Mark Hereward

    In this chapter we describe patterns of child mortality by ethnicity in the United States around the turn of the twentieth century.¹ The 1910 U.S. Census of Population asked questions of ever-married women regarding the number of children they had ever borne and the number of them who had survived to the time of the census.² The Public Use Sample (PUS) from this census reported 285,208 births, of whom 218,443 survived; thus, about 23 percent of these children had died by the time of the census.

    No tabulations from these questions were published in conjunction with the 1910 census. The...

  10. 4 GENERATING AMERICANS: ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN FERTILITY
    (pp. 83-124)
    S. Philip Morgan, Susan Cotts Watkins and Douglas Ewbank

    Compared to other issues examined in this volume (mortality, family structure, and education, for instance), much was already known about differences in fertility between natives and immigrants at the turn of the century. We knew that immigrant fertility was higher than native, that there was substantial fertility variation among immigrant groups, and that second-generation ethnic groups had fertility levels between those of the natives and the first generation (see literature cited in the next section).

    But many interesting and important questions remain. Among the most important: Are these differences in fertility simply the consequence of variations among these groups in...

  11. 5 UNDER THE SAME ROOF: FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD STRUCTURE
    (pp. 125-174)
    Andrew T. Miller, S. Philip Morgan and Antonio McDaniel

    Since the high tide of immigration around 1910, scholars of ethnic history have provided a good deal of information on how immigrants structured their families in households and how various immigrant groups were distributed within or across households.¹ The same household information has been examined for groups within the native population as well, particularly with regard to African Americans. From the 1910 Census Bureau tabulations for the foreign-born to the reports of the u.s. Immigration Commission (1911), subsequent studies using census data in the years 1910–1920 were concerned with immigrants and their households mainly in regard to housing conditions...

  12. 6 ETHNIC NEIGHBORS AND ETHNIC MYTHS: AN EXAMINATION OF RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION IN 1910
    (pp. 175-208)
    Michael J. White, Robert F. Dymowski and Shilian Wang

    An enduring aspect of the mythology of America is its capacity to absorb immigrants.¹ Part of the mythology holds that newcomers arrive in relative hardship, but find a better life, and eventually they or their descendants journey into the mainstream. In many accounts cities operate as the melting pots of this process, blending together different groups and facilitating economic advancement and social assimilation. Debate continues on the degree to which the dominant experience of immigrant groups is described by that melting pot model. An alternative school of thought emphasizes the persistence of social, economic, and cultural differences among groups, arguing...

  13. 7 RACE AND ETHNICITY, SOCIAL CLASS, AND SCHOOLING
    (pp. 209-256)
    Jerry A. Jacobs and Margaret E. Greene

    The immigrant has been a lightning rod for America’s passions since the beginning of the republic, yet the polarity of that attraction gradually has reversed.¹ At the turn of the twentieth century, the waves of “new” immigrants arriving from Eastern and Southern Europe were resented, feared, and loathed by contemporary native whites. The political tide of nativism ebbed after the recession of 1893–1897 and did not crest again until World War I, yet xenophobia remained a powerful current in American culture in the interim (Higham 1988). Although we now refer to immigrants as representing a variety of ethnic groups...

  14. 8 THE INDUSTRIAL AFFILIATION OF WORKERS: DIFFERENCES BY NATIVITY AND COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
    (pp. 257-318)
    Ann R. Miller

    In the context of this volume, it is interesting to note that one aspect of population increase over the decade 1900–1910 bears a striking resemblance to growth in the most recent intercensal intervals. Of the total ten-year increase, 22 million in 1980–1990, 23 million in 1970–1980, 16 million in 1900–1910, 20–25 percent is accounted for by an increase in the foreign-born population. None of the intervening decades shows anything remotely like this relationship (Table 8.1).

    Although the underlying mechanisms are quite different, associated as they are with the precipitous decline in natural increase of the...

  15. AFTERWORD: AMERICA’S IMMIGRANTS IN THE 1910 CENSUS MONOGRAPH: WHERE CAN WE WHO DO IT DIFFERENTLY GO FROM HERE?
    (pp. 319-350)
    Ewa Morawska

    As he set out to write a history of immigrants in America, Oscar Handlin realized that “immigrantswereAmerican history,” and since his classicThe Uprooted(1951), immigration and ethnicity have become permanent themes in mainstream American historiography. Earlier, studies of the diversity of immigrants’ lifestyles and institutions, and prognoses about the pace of their assimilation to the dominant society and culture, formulated by University of Chicago scholars at the beginning of the century, laid the foundations of contemporary American sociology (R. E. Park 1916; R. E. Park and Miller 1969 [1921]; Bulmer 1980; Persons 1987; Lal 1983).

    In the...

  16. APPENDIX A: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PUBLIC USE SAMPLE OF THE 1910 U.S. CENSUS OF POPULATION
    (pp. 351-356)
    Michael A. Strong, Samuel H. Preston and Mark C. Hereward
  17. APPENDIX B: A TABULAR PRESENTATION OF IMMIGRANT CHARACTERISTICS, BY ETHNIC GROUP
    (pp. 357-410)
    Susan Cotts Watkins and Arodys Robles
  18. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 411-432)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 433-451)