The United States has always been a country of immigrants. The English-speaking Protestant Christians who founded the country, however, have not always welcomed other types of arrivals. The disdained have changed over time.

Share of U.S. population born in another country, by region of origin

16% of U.S. population

14%

12%

ASIA

10%

8%

6%

LATIN

AMERICA

4%

EUROPE

2%

0%

2016

1900

16% of U.S. population

<1%

14%

<1%

12%

4%

ASIA

10%

8%

MEXICO

6%

7%

4%

2%

EUROPE

2%

0%

1920

1940

1960

1980

2000

2016

1900

16% of U.S. population

<1%

14%

<1%

12%

4%

ASIA

10%

GERMANY

8%

MEXICO

6%

OTHER

7%

4%

2%

EUROPE

2%

0%

1970

1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1980

1990

2000

2010

2016

1900

At one time, non-English-speaking northern Europeans were scorned. Then it was French Canadians, the famine Irish, Catholic Italians, anarchist Germans, fleeing Jews, Asian workers attacked by other immigrants, and Spanish-speaking Latin Americans.

In the big picture, the United States is in its second great wave of immigration since 1900. The first wave was primarily Europeans. It triggered restrictions on immigration in the 1920s. Loosened rules in the 1960s permitted the current wave, made up mostly of Latin Americans and Asians.

In 2015, Donald Trump said this of Mexican immigrants: "They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

And this week Trump is alleged to have complained “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” during discussion of immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and Africa.

Share of U.S. population born in another country, by selected country of origin

1.4% of U.S. population

1.2%

1.0%

0.8%

0.6%

0.4%

0.2%

NORWAY

HAITI

0.0%

1900

2016

1.4% of U.S. population

0.1%

1.2%

1.0%

0.6%

0.8%

OTHER

AFRICA

<0.1%

0.6%

0.4%

0.4%

0.2%

NORWAY

0.2%

HAITI

0.0%

1900

1920

1940

1960

1980

2000

2016

1.4% of U.S. population

1.3%

0.1%

1.2%

1.1%

1.0%

0.6%

0.9%

OTHER

AFRICA

0.8%

0.7%

<0.1%

0.6%

0.5%

0.4%

0.4%

0.3%

0.2%

NORWAY

0.2%

0.1%

HAITI

0.0%

1900

1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

2016

About this story

Post analysis of Census microdata from 1900 through 2016 via IPUMS-USA, University of Minnesota, www.ipums.org.

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