« PreviousContinue »
THE EFFECT OF IMMIGRATION ON
NATURAL INCREASE While it seems to be an open question whether in the long run, a country gains in population by immigration, the policy of new natioirs is to import people. It is said that in a country with ample food supply, population, without outside accretions, tends to double itself every twenty-five years. At this rate, the United States, which in 1800 had a population of 5,300,000, unaided by immigration, would have had a present population of about 150,000,000. This is over 40,000,000 above the actual figures. The extent of the effect which immigration has had upon the size of our population can only
be conjectured, because so many undeterminable factors enter into the result. If our population, without immigration, would have been as great or possibly even greater than now, then we have pursued numerical increase by a wholly unnecessary method which has resulted in a vast racial heterogeneity. The native birth rate began to decline noticeably about 1830, when the effects of immigration were first observed, and as the foreign people continued to crowd in, the native birth rate in the sections where aliens settled continued to decline. Unwholesome living conditions due to crowding in industrial communities doubtless had its effect in restricting the size of native families. Parents were unwilling that their children should fall below the social stratum in which they were born. An influx of aliens with lower living standards threatened this; the remedy was restriction in the size of families.
A similar experience has been feared or has resulted in other countries. Their history and legislation give evidence
* For an admirable discussion of this subject see Fairchild: Immigration, Chapter XI.
. It seems to be a law that the natural increase of population takes place, not among those who occupy the social positions that are difficult of access, but in the more accessible callings. A nation that allows its accessible callings to be filled by immigrants will owe its increase in numbers mainly if not wholly to this source, and not to the natural multiplication of its original stock. The original stock will form a diminishing proportion of the population.-Ed.
of this. They, too, are seeking by correction or prevention of evils to preserve their national integrity. If all immigrants came from the same social or economic stratum as that attained by the natives of the countries to which they immigrate, their advent would give rise to no sinister forebodings; but this is rarely the case. People migrate to better their condition. Ordinarily it is those who fare worst at home who seek new lands, and these are the least welcome. This is the common experience of the nations : under consideration in this study.
IMMIGRATION PAST AND PRESENT Man has ever been a restless being. From his original home he has wandered over the face of the earth, and is now pushing himself into its remotest corners. The two forces of necessity and desire have ever urged him on. There is nothing essentially new in great migratory movements of people, although the volume of such movements in the latter part of the nineteenth, and the first years of the twentieth century was naturally greater than in any previous period. Immigration into the United States alone has assumed world startling proportions, but it is new, and surprising mainly because of its numbers. It differs, too, from past movements in that it is individual. People do not migrate now as nations or in great groups. An exception that may be cited is the assisted immigration in 1900 of the Doukhobors to Canada. Yet though great companies do not as a rule come, we have in the United States many large national groups.
It is natural for persons in a strange land to seek out others of like language, customs and traditions, and establish a miniature home land. People come to join their friends, and the group grows larger and larger. Groups of this kind may become isolated, and may even menace free institutions. Large foreign settlements practically out of touch with the
* The great self-governing British dominions are to all intents and purposes nations and are so regarded here. The reactions of these countries to the situations they have had to face are full of interest.
new country might be a very serious problem at a time when international relations were strained. This actually happened in the United States during the World War. Knowing the strength of old national ties one can only wonder that the presence of so many racial elements did not prove more of a disrupting force than it did.
In past ages, when men migrated, only the most virile groups survived. Racial or territorial or cultural conquest followed such movements, and one expects to find evidence of one or the other of these results. It is thus that nations were built. The modern or pre-war idea, if idea it can be called, seems to have been that the nation is static, and cannot be changed by a constant influx of new material that is absorbed for industrial purposes. The absurdity of this position is apparent today. A common characteristic of early movements of people was the long period of time covered by the pilgrimage. The people who started were, in more ways than one, not the same as those who settled in the land of desire. Generations of men were gathered to their fathers, and whole races were absorbed during the progress. Barbaric hordes picked up some culture as they traveled.
This was before the days of missionary enterprise and the carrying of ideals to the uttermost parts of the earth. Then the uttermost parts of the earth disemboweled themselves into the land of ideals. Barbaric peoples, as in the case of the Huns, became Christianized en route to fertile soil.
Early movements of people are usually said to be for purposes of invasion, conquest or colonization, and pre-suppose some organized form of government which takes the initiative in planning extended migration. Any study of the ancient world suffices to acquaint one with the general aspect of these movements, and they serve to illustrate the point that men are ever moving about to improve their condition, and that they are likely to keep moving as long as there exist new lands which offer hope for a better life, whether religious, political, social or economic.
Illustrative of the changes races have undergone, it is interesting to note what Sir Harry Johnston, a keen observer of primitive races, says of the movement of men into Egypt:
“The first men who entered Egypt and traveled up the valley of the Nile came, almost unquestionably, from the east, and were part of those radiations from the central focus of humanity, India. It is possible that the first men who entered the valley of the Nile from this direction may have been so primitive, simian, and undetermined a type-50 neanderthaloid'-as not to belong definitely to any one of the three main species of humanity. At that distant time, however (let us say at the end of the Pleistocene period or beginning of the Quaternary Epoch), there was undoubtedly land connection over the south as well as over the north end of the Red Sea, joining Arabia to Ethiopia as well as to Egypt; and across this bridge came many types of Asiatic mammals, also man, possibly in the form of a low Negroid, a type represented today (much changed and modified, of course) by the Congo Pygmies and South African Bushman." He says further:
“The potent race that has so long held aloft a brightly lighted lamp of civilization has been so changed and degraded by the infusion of Persian, Arab, Greek, Italian, Negro, Circassian, Turkish, French and Maltese blood, so often decimated by wars, famines, and disease, and renewed with the tainted blood of mercenary armies, that, though the residuum of the population may still offer great facial resemblances to the vanished Egyptian type, the majesty of demeanor, the brilliant mental endowments of the old race have
THE SPARSELY SETTLED LANDS
In order that the relative proportion of land and people in the newer countries of the world may be seen at a glance, the following tabulation is presented. It will be observed that with the exception of the United States, these countries are sparsely settled and hint at a primary need for agricultural
* The Nile Quest, p. 1.
development, and even the United States has vast unpeopled areas, although its best agricultural lands have already been
8,772,000 3,729,665 2+
1,239,980 103,284 12+
30,645,296 3,275,510 9+
In connection with the sparseness of population indicated by the foregoing table, it is interesting to note the degree of crowding that prevails in older parts of the world. The number of people to the square mile is : in China 225, in Japan 376, in Germany 300, in France 172, in England 701. Such figures invite speculation upon the population possibilities of the immigrant receiving countries under consideration.
Where agricultural development is a principal need, countries
well offer assistance of various kinds to settlers. Whatever may be true in the manufacturing industries, a shifting population is valueless for rural development. A certain sturdiness and patience are required of men who make successful farmers. Those who answer the call of steel mills today and of mines tomorrow rarely have the requisite qualities. New Nations like Canada and Australia recognize this and try to make their offers of homes attractive to the kind of people they want.
With certain nations in the world eagerly scanning the horizon for new lands to receive their surplus population, it is of surpassing interest to study the attitude of such countries as have space to spare toward the general problems of free migration. There is very little of the altruistic spirit, such as actuated the United States in earlier days, to be observed. The countries within the British Empire wish to keep themselves dominantly British or at least English speaking and white. So far there is unanimity in policy. The South American countries as might be expected have other aims.