Total United States Immigration by Country

Between 1820 and 2019, 86 million people were granted lawful permanent residence to the United States. Try to name the 24 modern day countries that sent the most of these immigrants.
Quiz by relessness
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Last updated: January 27, 2021
First submittedOctober 25, 2016
Times taken46,404
Rating4.93
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#
Peak
Country
9,146,897
1990s
Mexico
7,344,985
1880s
Germany
5,563,906
1880s
United Kingdom
5,498,854
1900s
Italy
4,890,930
1920s
Canada
4,811,063
1850s
Ireland
4,054,014
1900s
Russia
2,521,064
2000s
Philippines
2,250,105
2010s
China
1,978,651
2010s
India
1,886,645
1900s
Austria
1,697,314
1900s
Hungary
#
Peak
Country
1,680,211
2010s
Cuba
1,615,827
2010s
Dominican Republic
1,297,558
1900s
Sweden
1,218,579
2010s
Vietnam
1,186,463
1980s
South Korea
944,205
2010s
Jamaica
928,540
1980s
Poland
915,311
1850s
France
915,180
1990s
El Salvador
828,832
2000s
Colombia
793,435
2000s
Haiti
779,496
1880s
Norway
+48
Level ∞
Oct 25, 2016
Fun facts:

  • Between 1850 and 1900, about half the population of Ireland emigrated to the U.S.
  • U.S. immigration was almost nothing between 1931-1945, and remained low until the 1980s
  • Most countries on this list have sent their population in one or two giant waves. However, immigration from France has remained remarkably consistent from 1830 to the present day.
+7
Level 60
Jan 21, 2017
neat observation re france
+6
Level 50
Feb 15, 2017
Ireland did that because of the Potato Famine... *know-it-all*
+22
Level 35
Jan 11, 2021
i think here everyone is a know it all by that standard ahah
+15
Level 78
Jul 2, 2019
Ireland's population still hasn't fully recovered
+8
Level 83
Jul 2, 2019
The next biggest shift in population looks like Austria and Hungary where the numbers in this quiz are about 20% of the current population.Also it's surprising that Brazil doesn't make the list.
+1
Level 23
Jan 31, 2021
I thought "Austria-Hungary doesn't exist anymore" so I didn't think to type them individually
+1
Level 44
Mar 21, 2021
Ah, to be a refugee fleeing Europe during World War II only to be barred entry from the United States and forced to return to Europe (or for the lucky ones to sail over to Canada or Mexico instead).
+2
Level 84
Oct 25, 2016
Nice quiz. Most of my time was gone before I paid any attention to the peak dates, that would have helped!
+6
Level 74
Oct 25, 2016
When the US purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, did those newly Americanised inhabitants get classed as being "sent" to the US?
+7
Level 47
Oct 25, 2016
I have no idea
+11
Level 80
Oct 26, 2016
Compared to the number in the quiz, their numbers were small - in the neighborhood of 50 to 55 thousand. At the time of transfer there were about 2500 Russians inhabitants working in the fur trade, but most of those went back to Russia.
+2
Level 81
Jan 13, 2019
There were about 10,000 people living in areas under the control of the Russian fur company, and an estimated 50,000 Inuit living in other areas of Alaska. Most of the 10,000 Russian subjects chose to leave and go to Russia shortly after the purchase. The Inuit in other areas I'm guessing don't count, but maybe the small number of Russians that chose to remain would.
+1
Level 65
Mar 22, 2021
There are still some Russian communities left over from that time period. The Kenai Peninsula hosts a number of them. A lot of the people still dress in the old Russian style.
+1
Level 61
Nov 6, 2016
Nice quiz, thanks!
+8
Level 55
Dec 15, 2016
Amazing how you can get completely disconnected from your roots within a few generations... A lot of Americans do not identify at all with the nation of their grandparents.

And somehow, some of them do, like the Irish and Italians... why is that?

+18
Level 70
Jan 21, 2017
Identity does not necessarily concern a nation at all. Italians and Irish were looked down upon when they first began to emigrate en masse, so they were sort of forced to develop an identity distinct from the "white" America of the time.
+14
Level 78
Jan 21, 2017
Some of us are totally mutts and have too many to celebrate each individually. My grandchildren are mixed with Irish, Scots, Welsh, German, and English from our side, and from their other parents have added Polish, Italian and Swiss, Norwegian and Swedish, and Russian. I'm happy that some of them continue to practice specific identity traditions, especially at Christmas, but some of our "American" traditions are actually from other countries, such as the Christmas tree or singing Auld Lang Syne on New Year's Eve. And don't forget, on March 17th, everyone's Irish!
+5
Level 19
Sep 22, 2017
Irish and Italians were not considered white, so they didn't adapt to a lot of the american culture. and since the country has been around since 1770's, i guess so many people don't know their roots. I usually assume they're british.
+5
Level 67
Aug 18, 2019
you are using "the country has been around since 1770's" as an argument NOT to know their roots?? I really thought that sentence would have ended differently. Less than 250 years, that is only a couple of generations!
+3
Level 65
Aug 29, 2019
Blox is right. The Irish weren't considered white. Look it up.
+6
Level 63
Aug 29, 2019
A generation is 125 years now? Who knew?
+4
Level 49
Jan 26, 2020
XD "Less than 250 years, that is only a couple of generations!" Yes, obviously, people have kids at age 125. or maybe you meant 3 by a couple, I guess we all have kids at 83.
+5
Level ∞
Jan 27, 2021
Many of my ancestors have been in the United States for more than 10 generations. At 10 generations out, I have more than 1000 ancestors, coming from many different countries over the world. There is no ethnic heritage I could possibly celebrate other than "American".
+7
Level 81
Jan 31, 2021
I have ancestors who emigrated on the Mayflower from Plymouth. Others who came from Germany to be poor indentured servants in Virginia in the early 1600s. And others who were Cherokee. My peeps been here for thousands of years. And include some who called themselves Irish, French, Italian, and other things. Though from 1500 - 1700 or so at least a plurality of them would have identified as English, most likely. Going back far enough of course they were African. But does it really matter? We are all humans, all part of the one and only human race, all residents of this one small planet.

Also "white" is a completely bullshit meaningless label that should not be applied to anyone. Nobody is white. Not the Irish. Not the Swedes. Not the English. Not Iranians. Same with "black," for that matter. Race in homo sapiens is made up nonsense.

+2
Level 68
Mar 21, 2021
I had to look that up. Imagine not considering Irish people to be white. I had assumed that they were looked down on because they were mostly Catholic rather than Protestant.
+2
Level 44
Mar 21, 2021
I can't explain *exactly* why but for me I just don't feel a connection past a few generations. I remember my grandma telling me about Japan and my other telling me about Norway. I used to go to Midsummer and Obon celebrations. One more generation back and you have my Swiss great-grandmother. I never met her. I know almost nothing about her. I don't know how Swiss German culture impacts my family, or if it even does to any noteworthy amount. I identify a bit with Norway and Japan because I can place them in the context of heritage that I have experienced and felt, at least to some small degree. I have no such foundation for the other ethnicities/nationalities.
+1
Level 27
Jan 21, 2017
Who knows? Life is strange...
+1
Level 48
Jan 21, 2017
Interesting quiz, nice to see Vietnam and Cuba repairing foreign relations.
+19
Level 47
Jan 21, 2017
I thought most Cubans were fleeing the communist regime. Not exactly there to repair foreign relations.
+11
Level 53
Jan 21, 2017
I think about 97 of those were actually just to play in the MLB.
+6
Level 66
Feb 11, 2021
@relessness yeah, the same is true of Vietnam.

On that note, I was really surprised to see that the peak of Cuban immigration was the past decade. People are still coming from Cuba en masse? I assumed most of them would have been refugees in the 60s, 70s, and maybe 80s.

+1
Level 52
Mar 21, 2021
I thought the peak of Vietnam was around 1975-1985? Right after the Fall of Saigon.

That’s when boat people (including my whole family and extended family, totaling ~50 people) left South Vietnam en masse.

+2
Level 36
Jan 21, 2017
Dangit, I missed 'Nam
+5
Level 59
Mar 8, 2017
wow, that's a large group of El Salvadorese people living in the US for such a tiny country!
+1
Level 44
Mar 21, 2021
El Salvador has sadly been a horrible state for a long time. Decades of dictatorship followed by a 12-year-long civil war, and now huge problems with gang influence and violence. Then there's the lack of economic opportunities common in many places in Central America right now.
+6
Level 54
Apr 13, 2017
I missed Canada. Kill meh.
+5
Level 19
Sep 22, 2017
Eh!
+10
Level 52
Dec 16, 2017
This is the best website.
+1
Level 53
Dec 30, 2017
I missed Poland!! *facepalm*
+4
Level 49
Jan 26, 2020
The community of Polandball is ashamed of you.
+2
Level 23
Mar 21, 2021
Countryballs ans Polandball are cringe
+1
Level 25
Mar 23, 2021
no u
+2
Level 65
Aug 29, 2019
Kinda missing africans from this list.

I guess those who arrived through slave trade either weren't people or weren't lawful.

+4
Level 65
Aug 29, 2019
Or they didn't keep thorough records.
+4
Level 48
Aug 30, 2019
The slave trade was over by 1820, so they don't count for purposes of this quiz
+1
Level 55
Apr 12, 2021
It wasn't over by 1820. Legally, transporting slaves to the US was prohibited as of 1808, but the southern states continued to import slaves in defiance of federal law until 1859.
+2
Level 59
Aug 29, 2019
"countries that sent the most of these immigrants" sounds as if the governments of those countries actively pursued migration to the US. I'm pretty sure the migrants went to the US for other reasons. I think it would sound more realistic if the sentence were worded "countries where the most of these immigrants came from." I admit the current wording isn't entirely wrong, it just sounds funny.
+1
Level 44
Mar 21, 2021
In a sort of twisted way you could say that a lot these countries sent the immigrants by being in dire conditions. Push factors are just as relevant as pull. :p

I do agree that it's worded funny though lol

+1
Level 66
Aug 29, 2019
I am afraid that Austria and Hungary, peaking in 1910s, still stand for the territories that were AT THAT TIME part of the Habsburg Empire. Therefore, including Czech Republic, Slovakia, part of Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, part of Serbia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, part of Italy...
+2
Level ∞
Jan 27, 2021
They separate Austria and Hungary in the stats. Others would be listed under "Yugoslavia", but there aren't nearly enough to appear on the list.
+1
Level 57
Aug 29, 2019
Funny how the Irish people still identify by their roots, but those descended from Brits don’t at all.
+9
Level 56
Jan 12, 2021
I assume British and American culture were so closely intertwined no significant change was necessary, if that makes sense
+3
Level 65
Jan 28, 2021
or they identify as Scottish, Welsh, English, Cornish, etc
+1
Level 65
Feb 3, 2021
I always assumed that it's because the Irish were the cool, romantic underdog whereas we Brits/English were the baddies
+1
Level 65
Mar 22, 2021
Maybe the Irish did not want to leave but were compelled to by natural circumstances whereas the British who left were sick of being there and left to escape political circumstances. And there is that whole thing where many of the British who came to America fought two wars against them. That probably helps hasten the separation. Your good insight got me thinking though. :)
+5
Level 60
Aug 29, 2019
this quiz automatically gets five stars simply for using a picture of Salma Hayek.
+3
Level 37
Aug 29, 2019
For some reason I thought that the peak immigration from Cuba would have been in the early '60s (when Castro took over) or the '80s (with the expulsion of those whom Castro determined were radicals and convicts).
+1
Level 65
Feb 19, 2020
Look kalbahamut I know you are very combative, but in which way are the "english" opposing immigration from Romania in particular? As you very well know there has been a great deal of immigration to the uk in recent years, but it was the UK that accepted immediately immigration from eastern European countries when those countries joined, whilst France and Germany for example would not.
+1
Level 81
Apr 24, 2020
I've seen many quoted on television and in newspapers, as well as spoken directly to many in person, who made it no secret that their support of Brexit was largely due to their distaste for large numbers of immigrants coming from other EU countries. Romania was among those countries mentioned along with Lithuania, Poland, and so on. Germany and France have not voted to leave the EU, though they are host to their own bigots and xenophobes. Like I said, these people are everywhere.
+1
Level 65
Feb 19, 2020
^joined EU......... Yes you have got my goat with that. I mean do you ever think to your ]self when you are writing: "Is my brain actually engaged"?
+2
Level 69
Jul 7, 2020
Rated five stars just for the thumbnail of Salma. Thank you.
+1
Level 36
Oct 3, 2020
I wonder how many "Canadians" immigrants are actually from Québec. Fleeing from racism of the early 20th Century.
+2
Level 65
Jan 28, 2021
I know that some Scottish came down to the Midwest from Canada.
+2
Level 67
Mar 21, 2021
There were apparently a number of "Little Canada's" set up around the American Northeast during the 20th Century, and these communities were French-spaking Quebecois in nature. I found this interesting, although I don't know much more.
+3
Level 66
Mar 21, 2021
I think Canada got about 30000 Americans (african american slaves) via the Underground Railroad. Not what you asked, but also interesting.
+1
Level 67
Mar 21, 2021
That's true, I can't speak for the rest of Canada but in Alberta everyone is meant to study that in grade school. It would be interesting to hear how well known that bit of history is known in other parts of Canada and the United States.
+1
Level 50
Jan 26, 2021
Got the last one with 1 second left, holy moly
+1
Level 63
Jan 27, 2021
aaaah, I always make the same mistakes. Got all but one, didn't bother to try all the Central American countries after trying three and not getting one.
+2
Level 72
Jan 28, 2021
Aaaarrrghhh.. Got all but Jamaica.
+1
Level 25
Mar 23, 2021
Haha, same.
+3
Level 66
Feb 11, 2021
I almost didn't get Canada. Spent so much time puzzling over European countries that would've sent tons of immigrants in the 1920s, only to finally remember that Canada exists.
+1
Level 45
Mar 21, 2021
Missed Jamaica, South Korea, and Vietnam
+1
Level 61
Mar 21, 2021
Missed Haiti, and I was kind of surprised Japan wasn't on here. Good quiz!
+1
Level 66
Mar 21, 2021
Soooo weird I didn't think of Canada. I am Canadian. Yikes.
+1
Level 67
Mar 21, 2021
why do I so often forget about existence of hungary... and it's my neigbhouring country! probably cause it makes no sense being there surrounded by all those slavic nations
+1
Level 54
Mar 22, 2021
I am surprised there are zero middle eastern countries on this list... maybe it's just my area but there are a lot of Pakistani and Afghan markets.
+1
Level 58
Mar 28, 2021
Pakistan and Afghanistan are not (usually) considered to be middle eastern countries.
+1
Level 22
Apr 6, 2021
pakistan is not middle eastern, it is part of the indian subcontinent. afghanistan is central asian not middle eastern lmao