What Allentown's immigrant population looked like in 1900

Written by:
June 27, 2022
Print Collector // Getty Images

What Allentown's immigrant population looked like in 1900

Though every city in the U.S. has a distinctly American flavor, so many metropolitan areas display distinct signs of the immigrant populations that melded together to make the cities we know and love today. From Miami’s Little Havana to New York City’s Chinatown and Los Angeles’ Little Italy, cultural enclaves continue to thrive in modern metropolitan areas and help build colorful and diverse communities.

Many cultural and ethnic enclaves have become destinations for locals and tourists alike, but these visitors bring with them a mixed bag of consequences. On one hand, increased foot traffic allows small businesses and restaurants more opportunities for business, ushering in much-appreciated cash flow. On the other hand, rising demand for goods and services can cause prices to rise, hiking up the cost of living and potentially pushing poorer individuals and families out of the community.

The gentrification of ethnic enclaves is not new. The term “gentrification” was coined by Ruth Glass in the 1960s to describe the displacement of working class folks in London, but the first examples of gentrification can be traced back to the 18th century when wealthy landowners, or the “gentry,” began buying out small farmers who were struggling to accumulate the capital necessary to operate in England.

Today, ethnic enclaves continue to thrive despite the looming threats of gentrification and economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. As one step towards understanding the history of these enclaves, ​​Stacker compiled a list of the largest sources of immigrants in Allentown in 1900 by transcribing a previously untranscribed dataset from the U.S. Census Bureau. Table 35 of the Twelfth Census details the immigrant population of every city in the U.S. with at least 25,000 inhabitants as of the turn of the last century.

Read on to find out more about the historical immigrant community in your home city or explore the data on your own on our site, GitHub, or data.world.

You may also like: Cities with the fastest growing home prices in Allentown metro area

1 / 32
Lewis W. Hine // Getty Images

#1. Germany

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1,065
- Percent of foreign born residents: 35.61%
National
- Number of residents: 2,669,164
- Percent of foreign born residents: 25.52%
- #1 most common country of origin
2 / 32
FPG // Getty Images

#2. Ireland

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 573
- Percent of foreign born residents: 19.16%
National
- Number of residents: 1,619,409
- Percent of foreign born residents: 15.48%
- #2 most common country of origin
3 / 32
Bettmann // Getty Images

#3. Austria

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 337
- Percent of foreign born residents: 11.27%
National
- Number of residents: 276,702
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.65%
- #10 most common country of origin
4 / 32
Samuel Hopwood // Getty Images

#4. Russia

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 247
- Percent of foreign born residents: 8.26%
National
- Number of residents: 424,372
- Percent of foreign born residents: 4.06%
- #7 most common country of origin
5 / 32
Smith Collection/Gado // Getty Images

#5. Hungary

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 210
- Percent of foreign born residents: 7.02%
National
- Number of residents: 145,815
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.39%
- #14 most common country of origin
6 / 32
Bettmann // Getty Images

#6. England

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 151
- Percent of foreign born residents: 5.05%
National
- Number of residents: 843,491
- Percent of foreign born residents: 8.06%
- #4 most common country of origin
7 / 32
Bettmann // Getty Images

#7. Italy

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 122
- Percent of foreign born residents: 4.08%
National
- Number of residents: 484,703
- Percent of foreign born residents: 4.63%
- #6 most common country of origin
8 / 32
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#8. Scotland

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 66
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.21%
National
- Number of residents: 234,699
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.24%
- #11 most common country of origin
9 / 32
Minnesota Historical Society // Getty Images

#9. Poland

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 42
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.40%
National
- Number of residents: 383,595
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.67%
- #8 most common country of origin
10 / 32
Bettmann // Getty Images

#10. Wales

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 40
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.34%
National
- Number of residents: 93,744
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.90%
- #20 most common country of origin
11 / 32
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#11. Canada

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 36
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.20%
National
- Number of residents: 1,183,225
- Percent of foreign born residents: 11.31%
- #3 most common country of origin
12 / 32
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#12. France

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 28
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.94%
National
- Number of residents: 104,534
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.00%
- #18 most common country of origin
13 / 32
UniversalImagesGroup // Getty Images

#13. Switzerland

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 26
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.87%
National
- Number of residents: 115,959
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.11%
- #15 most common country of origin
14 / 32
FPG // Getty Images

#14. China

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 6
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.20%
National
- Number of residents: 106,659
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.02%
- #16 most common country of origin
15 / 32
Minnesota Historical Society // Getty Images

#15. Sweden

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 5
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.17%
National
- Number of residents: 574,625
- Percent of foreign born residents: 5.49%
- #5 most common country of origin
16 / 32
Bettmann // Getty Images

#16. Denmark

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 5
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.17%
National
- Number of residents: 154,616
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.48%
- #13 most common country of origin
17 / 32
FPG // Getty Images

#17. Bohemia

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 5
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.17%
National
- Number of residents: 156,999
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.50%
- #12 most common country of origin
18 / 32
Bettmann // Getty Images

#18. Other countries

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 3
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
National
- Number of residents: 2,587
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #39 most common country of origin
19 / 32
Bettmann // Getty Images

#19. Turkey

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 3
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
National
- Number of residents: 9,949
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
- #30 most common country of origin
20 / 32
Interim Archives // Getty Images

#20. Greece

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 3
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
National
- Number of residents: 8,655
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
- #31 most common country of origin
21 / 32
Bettmann // Getty Images

#21. Central America

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 3
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
National
- Number of residents: 3,911
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.04%
- #36 most common country of origin
22 / 32
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#22. West Indies (except Cuba and Puerto Rico)

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
National
- Number of residents: 14,468
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.14%
- #26 most common country of origin
23 / 32
Buyenlarge // Getty Images

#23. Norway

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
National
- Number of residents: 338,426
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.24%
- #9 most common country of origin
24 / 32
Alexander Alland, Jr. // Getty Images

#24. Mexico

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
National
- Number of residents: 103,445
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.99%
- #19 most common country of origin
25 / 32
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#25. Holland

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
National
- Number of residents: 105,098
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.00%
- #17 most common country of origin
26 / 32
Bettmann // Getty Images

#26. Europe (not otherwise specified)

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
National
- Number of residents: 2,272
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #41 most common country of origin
27 / 32
FPG // Getty Images

#27. Belgium

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
National
- Number of residents: 29,848
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.29%
- #24 most common country of origin
28 / 32
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#28. Australia

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
National
- Number of residents: 7,041
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
- #34 most common country of origin
29 / 32
Lewis W. Hine // Getty Images

#29. Born at sea

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
National
- Number of residents: 8,310
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
- #32 most common country of origin
30 / 32
ullstein bild Dtl. // Getty Images

#30. South America

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
National
- Number of residents: 4,814
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.05%
- #35 most common country of origin
31 / 32
Hulton Deutsch // Getty Images

#31. Cuba

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
National
- Number of residents: 11,159
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
- #28 most common country of origin
32 / 32
Print Collector // Getty Images

#32. Asia (except China, Japan, and India)

Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
National
- Number of residents: 11,928
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
- #27 most common country of origin

Trending Now