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Migration from Asia to the US 1820-1957, by region

Between 1820 and 1957, more than one million documented migrants arrived in the United States from Asia. The migration rate was quite low until the 1850s, but then there was an influx of Chinese migrants to the US, and almost 300,000 people migrated to the US from China by 1884. This migration from China ended abruptly in the 1880s, as a result of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This act prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers to the United States, and, despite the fact that it was only intended to last for ten years, it officially remained in effect until 1943, and in practice until 1965.
After this law came into effect, migration from Asia was quite low until the end of the nineteenth century. As the twentieth century began, migration from Asia to the US increased gradually, particularly from Japan and Turkey, although overall migration decreased again following the First World War and the Great Depression. In the lead up to the Second World War, migration to the US decreased greatly, particularly from Japan, who were one of America's enemies during the war. As the Chinese Civil War ended in the late 1940s, the US accepted a few thousand Chinese asylum seekers, and then migration from Asia grew to it's pre-Depression levels in the 1950s.

Number of documented migrants from Asia to the United States between 1870 and 1957, by region

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Release date

August 2019


Asia, United States

Survey time period

1820 to 1957

Supplementary notes

Release date is date of extraction.

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