Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/340

This page needs to be proofread.

















relative statistic-'! tliat meaning lips. From the stand- Doint of social significance the relation between the influx of population anil (he native population is tlie important concern. This is true, considered from the country giving or the countrj- receiving the immi- grants. The following figures show the percentages of the native and of the alien population for a series of decades: —

alien 97

13-2 14-4 13-3 14-8 13-7

In 1890 there were 17,314 foreign bom to each 100,000 native; in 1900 the proportion was 15,886 to 100,000. The largest proportion of foreign-born is in North Dakota, which in 1890 had 42.7 per cent; in 1900, 35.4 per cent foreign-born. In 1900 there were seven states with more than 25 per cent foreign-born. iS'orth Carolina had in 1900 the lowest percentage of foreigners, two-tenths of one per cent, the average in the Southern States being below 5 per cent. From these relative figures it is clear that the efTect of im- migration is not materially changing.

So also as regards emigration. Not the absolute numbers leaving, but the migration relative to the total, and again to the annual excess of births over deaths, is significant. A very large migration from a country with a very high birth-rate probably has no effect, or only a slight efTect. When a million a year leave a country like China, it merely means that famine, disease, infanticide, etc., are less important factors in keeping down population; the greater the migration, the less burden the remaining population must bear. In many Western countries this is not the case, and when heavy emigration takes place the nation may be materially weakened either for war or peace. The following figures illustrate this condition; out of every 1000 inhabitants of Italy 6-87 migrated in 1888; from Great Britain and Ireland, 7-46; from Scotland 8-88; from Ireland 15-06; from Sweden 9-86; from Germany only 2-10. Most remarkable has l^een the effect upon Ireland, where so great has been the emigration since the potato famine that the population is now little more than half what it then was, this being about the decrease which would be produced by an emigration of 15 in 1000 during a generation.

Statistics require analysis. Immigration statistics are no exception to the rule, and much meaning may be drawn from them by proper analysis. Immigrants are not merely so many units, so many homogeneous things to be blocked off in columns of hundreds, thousands, and millions, and then abandoned. Immi- grants are human beings, statistics must be dealt with in the light of that fact, and careful account must be taken of all the conditions to which their lives are sub- ject. These cover age, sex, training, traditions, and property. Of these the most obvious and significant are age and sex. As to age, immigration to the United States has always drawn heavily upon adult life, the mass of immigrants coming to tne United States dur- ing their productive period. Of German immigrants up to 1894, upwards of 60 per cent were between the ages of fifteen and forty-five. Of all immigrants to the United States in 1887, 70-51 per cent were be- tween fifteen and forty. In 1909, out of 751,786 im- migrants admitted, 624,876 were between 14 and 44 years of age; 88,393 were under 14, and 18,517 were 45 or over. These figures indicate about the normal age conditions of immigrants coming to the United States, serving to emphasize the large amount of ready labour brought in, and the large addition to the labour force of the country at a very slight cost. Caution is needed, however, in calculating the value of this in- flux of foreign labour. Some have taken the average

cost of raising a labourer to the productive stage; others have estimated what value of goods this foreign labour would produce. The better way is to reckon the profits attributable to immigrant labour in excess of their expense to the new country; this would give the actual value accruing from the immigration.

As regards se.x among inmugrants, males have al- ways far exceeded females. This is illustrated by the statistics of 1909: out of the total arrivals of 751,786 during that year, 519,969 were males and 231,817 (somewhat less than one-third) were females; again, in 1910, out of 1,041,570 immigrants, 736,038 were males. This tends to destroy the equilibrium between the sexes in the countries concerned. It leads in many instances to a large withdrawal of money from the United States to the home land. It retains the interest of the immigrant in his native land, and leads many to return to families from which they have only temporarily separated. It increases that shifting population, especially in the large cities, and greatly augments the numbers of the " birds of passage". On the whole, the results are unfortunate. The con- dition is far more marked with certain nationalities. The characteristic feature of Chinese immigration to the United States has been the absence of women. The tendency among Italians to leave their families at home is strong. Of 165,248 immigrants from the South of Italy in 1909, there were 135,080 males and 30,168 females. From Northern Italy the proportion was less marked: 18,844 males to 6,306 females. From Ireland came 15,785 males and 15,400 females. In the case of the Japanese more women than men im- migrated to the United States.

StatLstics of departing emigrants have not been kept with accuracy and completeness; hence it is diffi- cult, if not impossible, to know just how many foreign- ers actually reside in the Unitetl States. In 1908 there entered the country 782,870 immigrant aliens. The .same year saw 395,072 depart. These figures for that year show a net gain of 387,797, a rather small number. Of course, this number of departures was exceptional — resulting from the panic of 1907. Out of a total of 751,786 landing in 1909, as many as 225,802 departed, leaving a net increase of 525,984.

The study of illiteracy in connexion with immigra- tion reveals the foreigners to us, enlarges our knowl- edge of the countries from which they come, and helps to explain the conditions of literacy or illiteracy in the United States. Moreover, as it is strongly urged that illiteracy should exclude immigrants, existing condi- tions as to foreign education will help to set the limits to this form of regulation. The statLstics on this phase of the subject are kept fairly constant by the shifting of the sources of migration from the north to the south of Europe. As education of the masses has not advanced as rapidly in the countries now supply- ing the immigrant as in countries farther north, so the percentage of illiteracy does not fall with the general advance of education. In 1909, out of a total immi- gration of 751,786, the totally illiterate numbered 191,049. This number takes in only those over 14 years of age; but,asthegreatmajority of those coming are over 14, and those under that age are, probably, more generally educated, they may be neglected. The percentage of illiteracy of all over 14 years in 1909 was 29; in 1907 it was 30; in 1906 it was 28. There is, then, no general diminution in illiteracy among im- migrants to the United States. The degree of illiter- acy among those from Southern Europe is consider- ably above the average; among those from northern Europe a good deal below.

MiGR.\TioN AS Affecting Other Countries. — The last quarter of the nineteenth century saw a large migration to South America. The Argentine Repub- lic has presented interesting phases of the subject. For lialf a century immigration lias been an object of public attention and statistical record. There are