Clerks staff a store in Detroit in 1922. (Photo via National Parks Service)
Clerks staff a store in Detroit in 1922. (Photo via National Parks Service)

Stacker compiled a list of the largest sources of immigrants in Michigan in 1900 using data transcribed from the 1900 US Census.

MICHIGAN—Since the first successful English colony settled in Jamestown in 1607, flows of immigrants have arrived on American shores seeking a new life. From Irish immigrants fleeing famine to Chinese immigrants settling in California during the Gold Rush, more than 86 million people legally immigrated to the United States between 1783 and 2019.

There have been four major waves of immigration to the US, beginning with settlers from northern and western Europe seeking land on the frontier from 1820 to 1880. The immigrants counted in the 1900 Census hailed primarily from southern and eastern Europe, drawn by the call of industrialization in America. At the advent of the era of world wars, there was a dearth of immigration, but after 1965, individuals from Asia and Latin America began to move to the US in droves.

Though the national immigrant population today and in 1900 is comparable by percentage, hovering around 14% of the overall US population, the raw population tells a different story. Today, the US is home to 44.7 million immigrants, whereas that number was just shy of 10.5 million at the time of the 1900 Census.

Stacker compiled a list of the largest sources of immigrants in Michigan in 1900 by transcribing a dataset from the US Census Bureau. Countries are ranked by total residents born in that country.

1. Canada

  • Number of residents: 184,398
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 34.04%
  • Percent of total state population: 7.62%

2. Germany

  • Number of residents: 125,074
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 23.09%
  • Percent of total state population: 5.17%

3. England

  • Number of residents: 43,839
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 8.09%
  • Percent of total state population: 1.81%

4. Holland

  • Number of residents: 30,406
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 5.61%
  • Percent of total state population: 1.26%

5. Ireland

  • Number of residents: 29,182
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 5.39%
  • Percent of total state population: 1.21%

6. Poland

  • Number of residents: 28,286
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 5.22%
  • Percent of total state population: 1.17%

7. Sweden

  • Number of residents: 26,956
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 4.98%
  • Percent of total state population: 1.11%

8. Finland

  • Number of residents: 18,910
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 3.49%
  • Percent of total state population: 0.78%

9. Scotland

  • Number of residents: 10,343
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 1.91%
  • Percent of total state population: 0.43%

10. Norway

  • Number of residents: 7,582
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 1.40%
  • Percent of total state population: 0.31%

11. Denmark

  • Number of residents: 6,390
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 1.18%
  • Percent of total state population: 0.26%

12. Italy

  • Number of residents: 6,178
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 1.14%
  • Percent of total state population: 0.26%

13. Austria

  • Number of residents: 6,049
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 1.12%
  • Percent of total state population: 0.25%

14. Russia

  • Number of residents: 4,138
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 0.76%
  • Percent of total state population: 0.17%

15. Switzerland

  • Number of residents: 2,617
  • Percent of foreign born residents: 0.48%
  • Percent of total state population: 0.11%

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