Country life movement As late ashalf the population lived in rural areas. They experienced their own progressive reforms, typically with the explicit goal of upgrading country life. The railroad system was virtually complete; the need was for much better roads.
Sojourners or Permanent Residents? The literature on the mass migration in the early part of this century emphasizes the role of sojourners who moved to the United States for a temporary period to earn income, accumulate assets, and then returned to their home countries Baines,; Wyman, These migrant workers were allowed to remain in the United States for up to 18 months.
The program was extended after the war and was not ended until Feliciano, Page Share Cite Suggested Citation: The National Academies Press.
The magnitude of the actual return flows are difficult to measure with precision, yet all of the evidence we have been able to assemble suggests that the return flows were quite large.
For example, we think it is interesting to note that, while the age composition of the immigrants had a strong impact on the age distribution of the subsequent foreign-born population, the proportion of males among the foreign-born population recorded at the various censuses from —, although greater than 50 percent, was not heavily imbalanced.
These numbers are compared with the proportion of immigrants arriving in each year who were male dashed line.
Clearly many more male then female immigrants returned to their homelands with just a brief stay in the United States. Another clue regarding the relative importance of sojourners in the earlier immigrant flows is contained in the time series displayed in Figure There, 12 The immigration data are the same as displayed in Figure except that calendar year flows are estimated by averaging the fiscal year data.
That is, calendar year is an average of fiscal year which ends June 30, and fiscal year This cyclical pattern to the male share is consistent with the hypothesis that male immigrants were primarily sojourners whose migration decisions were quite sensitive to economic conditions in the United States.
Certainly it is plausible that a depressed economy would discourage sojourners. But in fact little is known about the phenomenon in the era of mass migration.
Before the official statistics count only arrivals. They do not distinguish between permanent settlers and temporary guest workers, nor is there any comprehensive count of returning immigrants during this period.
Kuznets and Rubin We have also reproduced the official figures on arrivals in Figure This is the same series as the one displayed in Figure Figure displays what we call the "immigrant return rate. Figure shows that the return rate rose from less than 10 percent in and to over 70 percent just before World War I.
This increasing propensity of the United States to attract sojourners makes sense given the declining cost of transatlantic passage due to the continual technological improvement of the steamship following the introduction of scheduled service on the North Atlantic in the s Baines, Immigration and the American Business Cycle If we return to Figurewe find that it reveals another striking difference between the data for the recent and the distant past.
In the recent past, immigration flows have increased in almost every year, showing little sensitivity to year-to-year changes in macroeconomic conditions. This is because immigration is today closely regulated and because more wish to migrate than the number of visa slots available.
Most successful immigrants have been waiting for admission for several years. Today, year-to-year changes in the number of immigrants reflect policy changes, particularly regarding the admission of refugees and asylees, not changes in demand for admission. In the early period, by contrast, immigration was extremely sensitive to economic conditions in the United States.
Between andfor example, when the unemployment rate almost doubled from 4. Even more dramatic is the almost 40 percent reduction in the number of immigrants in a single year, from 1.
The consensus is that the pull forces of American opportunities dominated the push forces of European poverty, land scarcity, and military conscription Easterlin, Early writers on the business cycle such as Mitchell did not believe that immigration was likely to have been a major factor in moderating the cycle Jerome on balance thought immigration may have exacerbated depressions, but his conclusion drew a strong rejoinder from Rorty.
It was not just the inflow of immigrants that responded to economic conditions in this country; the outflow of emigrants also responded to the rate of unemployment.
Figure shows large increases in the rate of departure during the business downturns afterinafterand in Throughout the period preceding World War I, the inward and outward movements of immigrants show a negative correlation.Chapter 21 The Progressive Era, – Online Reader.
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