February 18, 2013 in Features

Immigrants helped country bloom

By The Spokesman-Review

In the 1950s and 1960s, some young baby boomers heard Italian, Irish and German accents in their grandparents’ homes or while visiting with the grandparents of their buddies.

These grandparents were immigrants who settled in the United States in the early-to-middle 20th century. They arrived here mostly from Europe, according to a recent U.S. Census report.

In 1960, 75 percent of immigrants came to the United States from Europe, compared with just 12 percent now.

Also in 1960, only 9 percent moved here from Latin America. Now it’s 53 percent.

In 1960, the top 10 countries of birth for U.S. immigrants were Italy, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Poland, the Soviet Union, Mexico, Ireland, Austria and Hungary.

By 2010, this foreign-born population had “undergone dramatic changes in size, origins and geographic distribution.”

The top 10 countries by 2010?

Mexico, China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, El Salvador, Cuba, Korea, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala.

In 1960, some young people likely never met a person with an accent, as the foreign-born population in the United States was hovering near a historic low. Only about 1 in 20 residents hailed from a foreign county, compared with 1 in 8 now.

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