How the Face of Immigration Changed in the Last 40 Years

A common criticism about the newest generation of immigrants is that they are detracting from the national identity. This isn't a fringe claim (or even a new one, really). Acclaimed political scientist Samuel Huntington's book Who Are We? argued that Latino immigration posed "a major potential threat to the cultural and possibly political integrity of the United States."

It's hard to have much sympathy for the argument that policymakers should turn back the huddled masses, especially at a time when (1) the United States' internationally superior higher education system attracts some of the world's smartest students and (2) we should be focusing on ways to build the younger sections of our tax base to help pay down our guaranteed expenditures to older Americans. 

Still, the makeup of America's immigration pool has changed dramatically in the last half century. Europe's share of total immigrants in the last 40 years has fallen from 60% to 13%. Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America have grown from 19% to more than half of all immigrants and Asia's share has tripled (via Brookings).Immig.JPG


Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Business

Just In