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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2018, 11:13 PM
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How would US cities be different without the immigration restrictions of 1920s- 60s?

The immigration acts in the 1920s severely restricted immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe (groups like Italian, eastern European Jewish immigrants etc.) and halted nearly all Asian immigration and led to a mid-century relative lowering of the share of immigrants until the 1965 lifting of the restrictions. That meant that by the time the Baby Boomers came of age (around the 60s and 70s), the % of foreign born (first generation Americans) reached a low of 5% or less, compared to both the times before (in the late 1800s and early 1900s) and after (post 1970s) where you had times of 1 in 10 Americans being a first generation immigrant.

How would US cities be different had they not been in place, and immigration in those decades had continued? Would many cities' growth been even more spectacular and rapid?

Would you have Midwestern cities (which were major immigration destinations) be much bigger and more bustling in terms of critical mass, that would have endured until today? Would Chicago be the biggest city today or come closer to rivalling NYC? What would a place like Detroit or Cleveland or Philly look like today?

But could it have been bad for social unrest? Perhaps even more complicated ethnic tensions would have happened? What would "white flight" to the suburbs and segregation look like if many more poor white immigrants (eg. imagine how many continental Europeans would have been willing to emigrate) and even many non-whites (like Asians) arrived as working class laborers, alongside the existing black-white color line?

Would the US having an even larger urban population, and much, much more cosmopolitan populace already by the mid to late 20th century, have knock off effects on globalization and the relative clout of the country going into the 21st century in this hypothetical timeline?
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Old Posted Dec 8, 2018, 11:25 PM
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if the us was canada it would look a little like canada
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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2018, 11:40 PM
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There would have been several million more Jews, Italians, Poles, Greeks, and Russians. Post 1933 there would have been a massive influx of both Jewish and non Jewish Germans. That's painting the picture with a broad brush. I am not up to speed on pre 1922 immigration from Japan and China, but they probably would have immigrated in large numbers, if allowed to do so. I don't think there was much legal immigration from Africa or the Indian subcontinent prior to the change in immigration laws. The 1922 law imposed a quota system that rewarded immigrant slots based on the country of origin of the immigrant population. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. Those numbers, of course, favored immigrants from western and northern Europe as well as the Irish. Large scale immigration from Italy, Russia, Poland, and eastern/southern Europe only picked up real steam in the 1880s, so quotas from those areas were smaller than quotas from Germany, England, etc. The 1922 immigration act was a reaction against the massive immigration of Jews from eastern Europe and also Mediterranean and eastern European Catholics or Christian Orthodox. I think most of these immigrants would have settled in cities on the east coast, mid west, and also possibly in California. Cities in the south would attract some as well, but probably not in large numbers.

Last edited by austlar1; Dec 9, 2018 at 3:05 AM.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 12:23 AM
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I don't understand why you think the Midwest would magically receive more immigration in proportion to other cities.

Basically, all major cities would be larger today and New York especially since it's always been the immigration gateway.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 9:59 AM
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I don't understand why you think the Midwest would magically receive more immigration in proportion to other cities.

Basically, all major cities would be larger today and New York especially since it's always been the immigration gateway.
Midwest was booming in those years. New York would still get a lot of people, to, but the ratio would be different than it was after industry started to collapse.

Depending on how much immigration we're talking about, the Great Migration (where Southern blacks moved North for industrial jobs) may never have happened, which means that White Flight may never have happened, which means that what we call Rust Belt cities may never have collapsed the way they did.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 3:52 PM
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The period of urban decline wouldn't have been nearly as harsh. Urban centers would have never fallen to unfathomable depths.

Basically the places that attracted poor peoples from mid-century Europe would be larger and more expensive today. NYC would have obviously been most impacted, given its particular draw to Italians and Jews, but all urban centers would have had a somewhat different trajectory.
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  #7  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 6:11 PM
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Depending on how much immigration we're talking about, the Great Migration (where Southern blacks moved North for industrial jobs) may never have happened, which means that White Flight may never have happened, which means that what we call Rust Belt cities may never have collapsed the way they did.
I think that's a huge reach, the great migration might have had a lot more competition but it was going to happen no matter what. Black Americans were desperate to escape the vile oppression, poverty and downright torture inflicted on them in the south.

Also, it doesn't take a large black population to inspire white flight and it wouldn't have made a difference when it comes to things like urban renewal.

Lily white cities that weren't big migration destinations like Denver and Minneapolis still completely destroyed their urban cores and regarded them as slums.

It was all forms of government and private enterprise deliberately sabotaging inner cities that hurt them, Jews and Italians had no problem leaving urban cores either.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 6:24 PM
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Denver and Minneapolis emptied out defined urban districts for urban renewal. They didn't see much emptying out of neighborhoods by white flight. Their populations did decrease but (without looking at actual numbers) I believe it was due to smaller households, not fewer.

On the broader topic, the US was sooooo boring and monocultural in the 70s and 80s. At least my corners of it.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 6:28 PM
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Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Midwest was booming in those years. New York would still get a lot of people, to, but the ratio would be different than it was after industry started to collapse.

Depending on how much immigration we're talking about, the Great Migration (where Southern blacks moved North for industrial jobs) may never have happened, which means that White Flight may never have happened, which means that what we call Rust Belt cities may never have collapsed the way they did.
This is an odd reading of history. Many/most northern cities would not have grown as large as they did without the Great Migration.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 6:35 PM
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This is an odd reading of history. Many/most northern cities would not have grown as large as they did without the Great Migration.
He's trying to say immigration would replace and cancel out the great migration which is ridiculous honestly.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 7:00 PM
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Denver and Minneapolis emptied out defined urban districts for urban renewal. They didn't see much emptying out of neighborhoods by white flight. Their populations did decrease but (without looking at actual numbers) I believe it was due to smaller households, not fewer.

On the broader topic, the US was sooooo boring and monocultural in the 70s and 80s. At least my corners of it.
Yeah I specifically mentioned cores and renewal, but It's not much different to an urbanist since the traditional urban city it still lost (honestly even more so than rustbelt cities commonly cited). They basically had zero black populations so there was nothing to run from. But they still lost people when they should have been growing because suburbia was heavily pushed and encouraged.

The legacy cities that were hurt most weren't overrun with black Americans, these cities were still like 80-90% white and their metros remain mostly white today.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 8:40 PM
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The period of urban decline wouldn't have been nearly as harsh. Urban centers would have never fallen to unfathomable depths.

Basically the places that attracted poor peoples from mid-century Europe would be larger and more expensive today. NYC would have obviously been most impacted, given its particular draw to Italians and Jews, but all urban centers would have had a somewhat different trajectory.
I doubt this, as puerto ricans basically subbed in for these hypothetical working class european immigrants in NYC.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2018, 10:30 PM
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There would be more pizza parlors.
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  #14  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2018, 1:21 AM
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I doubt this, as puerto ricans basically subbed in for these hypothetical working class european immigrants in NYC.
What do you doubt? Are you saying that if more poor Southern Italians and E. European Jews came in the mid-century period, then there would be fewer PRs migrating to the mainland? Sounds pretty implausible, given that PR had borderline starvation issues.

Or are you saying that PRs only came to NYC and the like because there was a void due to decreased European immigration? I don't think that makes much sense either. PRs peak migration period was the 1950's, when NYC was bursting at the seams with first generation European migrants, and I don't think rural third-world peasants were migrating based on intricate demographic analysis.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2018, 1:28 AM
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and here once again dominicans get no love in nyc.
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  #16  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2018, 1:33 AM
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A plausible alternate history- if more Jews from the shetls of Eastern Europe had been allowed into the U.S. during the interwar period, possibly millions fewer would have been murdered, and the state of Israel might have never been created. Those that would have populated Israel would instead be living in Paramus and Shaker Heights.

And NYC would have had an alternate postwar history, politically more conservative, somewhat less postwar white flight, and a huge, influential Orthodox power base today, perhaps enough to dominate the city.

If more Italians had been allowed into U.S., the millions who replaced the war dead in the factories of Northern Europe would have never existed, and the Marshall Plan might have failed, or at least been less successful. Perhaps West Germany would have been unstable and belligerent.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2018, 1:34 AM
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and here once again dominicans get no love in nyc.
Dominicans came later, in the 70's onward. PRs dominated postwar Latin NYC.
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  #18  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2018, 5:35 PM
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Non European migration wasn't really a huge thing, even the famous examples like Ford importing Muslims to dearborn and the Chinese railway workers were a small fraction of the masses of European migration.

So since non-European migration wasn't a huge factor until after 1960 I would think not much would be different other than maybe we would have a few million more people of European decent than we do now.
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  #19  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2018, 8:01 PM
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He's trying to say immigration would replace and cancel out the great migration which is ridiculous honestly.
Nothing is ridiculous in a hypothetical that, itself, is significantly unlikely unless you starting connecting about vast jumps in technology like spaceflight or time travel.

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There would be more pizza parlors.
More, sooner. We still ended up with a lot of pizza everywhere!

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A plausible alternate history- if more Jews from the shetls of Eastern Europe had been allowed into the U.S. during the interwar period, possibly millions fewer would have been murdered, and the state of Israel might have never been created. Those that would have populated Israel would instead be living in Paramus and Shaker Heights.

And NYC would have had an alternate postwar history, politically more conservative, somewhat less postwar white flight, and a huge, influential Orthodox power base today, perhaps enough to dominate the city.

If more Italians had been allowed into U.S., the millions who replaced the war dead in the factories of Northern Europe would have never existed, and the Marshall Plan might have failed, or at least been less successful. Perhaps West Germany would have been unstable and belligerent.
That would be an interesting alternate history.

The Great Migration was partly a push out off the South, but where those leaving headed was determined by where there were jobs. Northern cities were not exactly welcoming to newly arrived Southern blacks. Without the draw of worker-starved factories, perhaps more Southern blacks would have ended up in Los Angeles or San Francisco or Denver instead of New York, Cleveland, and Chicago. It's hard to say, given the high number of variables, but it could be. Might also have moved even further north Canada or South into Mexico, too. Some did move to Mexico, after all.
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