6 Int'l Migration Rev. 5 (1972)

handle is hein.journals/imgratv6 and id is 1 raw text is: 







                       Introduction



    For a number  of years the topic of American immigration has not
received a great deal of attention from demographers. It was presup-
posed that the age of mass immigration was over and, therefore, the
topic was more or less marginal to the discipline. The reawakening of
ethnic identity as something of a by-product of the Civil Rights movement
and  the emergence among  historians of a renewed interest in ethnic
history did not change the evaluation in the population field.
    The publication of the Interim Report of the Commission on Popula-
tion Growth and the American Future in March, 1971, altered the picture
somewhat.  One of the facts presented in the Interim Report was that
about twenty per cent of American population growth in recent years
was due to net civilian immigration. Although this percentage is partially
a function of a decline in fertility, nevertheless the finding took many,
demographers  or not, by surprise. The interpretation of this finding
and  steps to be taken because of the contribution of immigration to
the population of the United States are still questions under discussion.
This issue is meant as a contribution to that discussion by providing
information to those already involved and by introducing this important
topic to persons from various perspectives interested in questions of
migration and ethnic groups.
    Conrad  Taeuber presents an overview of the question in American
immigration  and  Population Growth.  He puts immigration  in the
broader perspective of the multifaceted problem of population. He also
points out that in the opinion of many, the major population problem
is not numbers per se, but population distribution and resource use.
    The  second article, Changing Patterns of American Immigration,
by Richard Irwin of the Census Bureau, is a more detailed look at the
demographic  characteristics of the immigrant population. This informa-
tion provides the basis for assessing the impact of immigration from
an historical and comparative perspective.
    One  of the major problems of determining the size of net immigra-
tion today is the lack of emigration data and the crudeness of estimates.
Bernard  Axelrod reviews a number of historical studies of emigration.
Although  there is disagreement on the size of the emigrant population,
it seems to have been considerable. The impact of immigration  and
emigration on the nation's history is, of course, difficult to assess without


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