From the early nineteenth century through the First World War, economic disruptions, crop failures, burgeoning populations, and political repression drove increasing numbers of people to leave their European homes and take their chances starting over in the new world. The relative availability of agricultural land and industrial jobs, improved transportation, political independence, and religious tolerance helped make the United States the largest single recipient of such emigrants during the nineteenth century. In smaller numbers, people also came to the United States from other parts of the new world and from Asia. The result, which is clear from the first map in this module, was a steep increase in the total population of the United States and a correspondingly steady spread of that population throughout the nation. The second map displays the density of foreign-born citizens within that total population. Finally, a graph depicts rising and falling numbers of immigrants by general place of origin and by decade from 1800 to 1920.

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