Streets Paved with Gold: Immigration and the Civil War, 1860 to 1865

Following the outbreak of the Great Famine in Ireland in 1845, the failure of the European revolutions of 1848 and the discovery of gold in California in 1849, the United States received waves of immigrants between 1845 and 1855. In 1860, as the United States went through a bitter and divisive election and began to splinter into disunion, immigration declined and then fell precipitously during 1861 and 1862. However, by 1863, the numbers rose significantly and through the end of the war, the country was again becoming a nation of immigrants.

German immigrants, mid-19th century

 Immigration in 1860:

>153,640 immigrants enter the United States:

> 35.4% come from the German states;

> 31.6% come from Ireland;

> 19.4% come from Great Britain;

> 3.6% come from China;

> 3.4% come from France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Switzerland combined;

> 2.9% come from Canada;

> 1.2% come Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.7% come from Spain, Portugal and Greece combined;

> 0.7% come from Italy;

> 0.5% come from Norway, Sweden and Denmark combined;

> 0.6% come other regions and other countries.

Sex and age:

> 41.4% are female;

> 74.5% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 15.9% are under age 15;

> 9.6% are over age 40

Occupations by general categories:

> 52.3% have no occupation– this includes children;

> 17.4% have general labor occupations;

> 12.1% have agricultural occupations;

> 10.8% have skilled craft occupations;

> 6.2% have commercial occupations;

> 0.8% have domestic work occupations;

> 0.4% have professional occupations.

 

 

Immigration in 1861:

> 91,918 immigrants enter the United States, a 40% reduction from the previous year:

> 34.4% come from the German states;

> 25.9% come from Ireland;

> 21.4% come from Great Britain;

> 8.2% come from China;

> 4.1% come from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland combined;

> 2,2% come from Canada;

> 0.9% come from Italy;

> 0.9% come from Denmark, Sweden and Norway combined;

> 0.6% come from Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.5% come from Greece, Spain and Portugal combined;

> 0.9% come from other regions and other countries.

Sex and age:

> 42.9% are female;

> 72.3% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 16.8% are under age 15;

> 10.9% are over age 40.

Occupations by general categories:

> 53.9% have no occupation– this includes children;

> 17.2% have general labor occupations;

> 10.4% have agricultural occupations;

> 10.3% have skilled craft occupations;

> 6.8% have commercial occupations;

> 0.6% have domestic work occupations;

> 0.6% have professional occupations;

> 0.2% have miscellaneous occupations.

 

Immigrants arriving at port of Philadelphia

 

Immigration in 1862:

> 91,985 immigrants enter the United States:

> 30.0% come from the German states;

> 26.8% come from Great Britain;

> 25.4% come from Ireland;

> 4.8% come from France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Netherlands combined;

> 3.9% come from China;

> 3.6% come from Canada;

> 2.8% come from Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined;

> 0.8% come from Central and South America, excluding Mexico;

> 0.6% come from Italy;

> 0.5% come from Greece, Spain and Portugal combined;

> 0.2% come from Mexico;

> 0.2% come from the Austrian Empire;

> 0.1% come from Poland;

> 0.1% come from the Russian Empire;

> 0.2%% come from other regions and other countries.

> Sex and age:

> 41.6% are female;

> 73.0% are between 15 and 40 years of age;

> 18.0% are under age 15;

> 9.0% are over age 40.

> Occupations by major categories:

> 54.9% have no occupation–this includes children;

> 15.5% have general labor occupations;

> 10.5% have skilled craft occupations;

> 8.1% have agricultural occupations;

> 6.8% have commercial occupations;

> 3.2% have domestic work occupations;

> 0.7% have professional occupations;

> 0.3% have miscellaneous occupations

 

Irish immigrants serving in the Union Army attend Catholic mass

 

Immigration in 1863:

> 176,282 immigrants enter the United States this year, almost double last year’s number and despite the on-going war:

> 37.9% come from Great Britain;

> 31.7% come from Ireland;

> 18.8% come from Germany;

> 4.1% come from China;

> 2.0% come from Canada;

> 1.8% come from France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland combined;

> 1.8% come from Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined;

> 0.6% come from Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal combined;

> 0.4% come from Central & South America, including Mexico;

> 0.1% come from the Russian Empire, Poland and the Austrian Empire combined.

> 0.8% come from various other regions and countries.

Sex and age:

> 39.9% are female;

> 71.1% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 18.7% are under age 15;

> 10.2% are over age 40.

> Occupations by Major Groups:

> 49.6% have no occupation– this includes children;

> 23.1% have general labor occupations;

> 12.1% have skilled craft occupations;

> 6.2% have agricultural occupations;

> 4.6% have domestic work occupations;

> 3.8% have commercial occupations;

> 0.6% have professional occupations.

 

Immigration in 1864:

> 193,418 immigrants enter the United States, more than double the number of 1862 and despite the continuing Civil War:

> 32.8% come from Ireland;

> 29.6% come from Germany;

> 27.6% come from Great Britain;

> 2.9% come from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland combined;

> 1.9% come from Canada;

> 1.5% come from China;

> 1.5% come from Sweden, Denmark and Norway combined;

> 0.9% come from Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece combined

> 0.5% come from Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.8% come from other regions and other countries.

> Sex and age:

> 40.6% are female;

> 68.5% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 18.9% are under age 15;

> 12.6% are over age 40.

> Occupations by major categories:

> 48.1% have no occupation–this includes children;

> 21.7% have general labor occupations;

> 11.9% have skilled craft occupations;

> 7.0% have domestic work occupations;

> 6.2% have agricultural occupations;

> 4.3% have commercial occupations;

> 0.5% have professional occupations;

> 0.3% have miscellaneous occupations.

 

Irish immigrants on the ship Mersey

 

Immigration in 1865:

> 248,120 immigrants enter the United States, better than 2.5 times the number of 1862:

> 33.6% come from Germany;

> 33.2% come from Great Britain;

> 11.9% come from Ireland;

> 8.7% come from Canada;

> 3.2% come from France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands combined;

> 2.9% come from Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined;

> 1.2% come from China;

> 0.8% come from Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece combined;

> 0.5% come from Central and South America, including Mexico;

> 0.5% come from the Russian Empire, Poland, and Austrian Empire combined;

> 3.5% come from other regions and other countries or their country of origin was not properly reported by immigration authorities.

> Sex and age:

> 40.1% are female;

> 61.1% are between the ages of 15 and 40;

> 22.7% are over age 40;

> 16.2% are under age 15.

> Occupations by major categories:

> 56.2% have no occupation–this includes children;

> 15.7% have general labor occupations;

> 11.7% have skilled craft occupations;

> 7.0% have agricultural occupations;

> 4.4% have commercial occupations;

> 3.2% have domestic work occupations;

> 0.6% have professional occupations;

> 1.2% have miscellaneous occupations.

 

 

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