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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 2, 2005

The Origins of Anti-Immigrant Sentiments: Evidence from the Heartland in the Age of Mass Migration

  • Gary Richardson


The Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industry surveyed attitudes towards immigration during the 1890s. The surveys reveal that individuals opposed immigration for cultural and economic reasons. Key correlates were the position in the labor market, the business cycle, and immigrant status. The magnitudes of the effects indicate that economic factors explain twice the variation in opinions across individuals than cultural factors explain. In addition, changes in economic conditions from 1880 to 1920 explain a substantial share of the rise in anti-immigrant sentiments at the end of the nineteenth and during the early twentieth centuries, but other factors, such as the rise of the eugenics movement, must have had at least as large a role.

Published Online: 2005-6-2

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