An interesting moving map shows the dominant waves of immigration to the U.S. from 1820 to 2013, including the numbers and the countries most represented at different points in time. It’s a fascinating presentation of the data.
During the first “great wave” of immigration, the 50 years from 1880 to 1930, 27,788,140 immigrants arrived in the U.S. In 1930, the U.S. population, according to census data, was 123.1 million.
During the 50 years from 1960 to 2010, which included the 1965 immigration reforms prioritizing immediate family immigration and the 1986 legalization program, 33,213,749 individuals immigrated. In 2010, census data shows the U.S. population was 309.3 million. While the U.S. received about 6.5 million more immigrants during this more recent 50 year immigration wave, they represented a much smaller percentage of the the overall U.S. population than the nearly 28 million immigrants who arrived during the first “great wave.”.