What Harrisburg's immigrant population looked like in 1900

Written by:
June 27, 2022
FPG // Getty Images

What Harrisburg'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 Harrisburg 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: Highest-rated things to do in Harrisburg, according to Tripadvisor

1 / 29
Lewis W. Hine // Getty Images

#1. Germany

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 985
- Percent of foreign born residents: 39.51%
National
- Number of residents: 2,669,164
- Percent of foreign born residents: 25.52%
- #1 most common country of origin
2 / 29
FPG // Getty Images

#2. Ireland

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 401
- Percent of foreign born residents: 16.09%
National
- Number of residents: 1,619,409
- Percent of foreign born residents: 15.48%
- #2 most common country of origin
3 / 29
Samuel Hopwood // Getty Images

#3. Russia

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 356
- Percent of foreign born residents: 14.28%
National
- Number of residents: 424,372
- Percent of foreign born residents: 4.06%
- #7 most common country of origin
4 / 29
Bettmann // Getty Images

#4. England

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 214
- Percent of foreign born residents: 8.58%
National
- Number of residents: 843,491
- Percent of foreign born residents: 8.06%
- #4 most common country of origin
5 / 29
Bettmann // Getty Images

#5. Italy

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 140
- Percent of foreign born residents: 5.62%
National
- Number of residents: 484,703
- Percent of foreign born residents: 4.63%
- #6 most common country of origin
6 / 29
Bettmann // Getty Images

#6. Wales

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 92
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.69%
National
- Number of residents: 93,744
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.90%
- #20 most common country of origin
7 / 29
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#7. Scotland

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 61
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.45%
National
- Number of residents: 234,699
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.24%
- #11 most common country of origin
8 / 29
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#8. Canada

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 60
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.41%
National
- Number of residents: 1,183,225
- Percent of foreign born residents: 11.31%
- #3 most common country of origin
9 / 29
Bettmann // Getty Images

#9. Austria

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 53
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.13%
National
- Number of residents: 276,702
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.65%
- #10 most common country of origin
10 / 29
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#10. France

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 28
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.12%
National
- Number of residents: 104,534
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.00%
- #18 most common country of origin
11 / 29
UniversalImagesGroup // Getty Images

#11. Switzerland

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 21
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.84%
National
- Number of residents: 115,959
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.11%
- #15 most common country of origin
12 / 29
Minnesota Historical Society // Getty Images

#12. Poland

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 17
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.68%
National
- Number of residents: 383,595
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.67%
- #8 most common country of origin
13 / 29
Minnesota Historical Society // Getty Images

#13. Sweden

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 11
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.44%
National
- Number of residents: 574,625
- Percent of foreign born residents: 5.49%
- #5 most common country of origin
14 / 29
FPG // Getty Images

#14. China

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 8
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.32%
National
- Number of residents: 106,659
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.02%
- #16 most common country of origin
15 / 29
FPG // Getty Images

#15. Bohemia

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 7
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.28%
National
- Number of residents: 156,999
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.50%
- #12 most common country of origin
16 / 29
Lewis W. Hine // Getty Images

#16. Born at sea

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 6
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.24%
National
- Number of residents: 8,310
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
- #32 most common country of origin
17 / 29
David RUBINGER // Getty Images

#17. Roumania

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 5
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.20%
National
- Number of residents: 15,043
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.14%
- #25 most common country of origin
18 / 29
Buyenlarge // Getty Images

#18. Norway

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 5
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.20%
National
- Number of residents: 338,426
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.24%
- #9 most common country of origin
19 / 29
Interim Archives // Getty Images

#19. Greece

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 4
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.16%
National
- Number of residents: 8,655
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
- #31 most common country of origin
20 / 29
Bettmann // Getty Images

#20. Turkey

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 3
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.12%
National
- Number of residents: 9,949
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
- #30 most common country of origin
21 / 29
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

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

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
National
- Number of residents: 14,468
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.14%
- #26 most common country of origin
22 / 29
ullstein bild // Getty Images

#22. Spain

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
National
- Number of residents: 7,284
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
- #33 most common country of origin
23 / 29
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#23. India

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
National
- Number of residents: 2,069
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #42 most common country of origin
24 / 29
Smith Collection/Gado // Getty Images

#24. Hungary

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
National
- Number of residents: 145,815
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.39%
- #14 most common country of origin
25 / 29
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#25. Holland

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
National
- Number of residents: 105,098
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.00%
- #17 most common country of origin
26 / 29
Bettmann // Getty Images

#26. Denmark

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
National
- Number of residents: 154,616
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.48%
- #13 most common country of origin
27 / 29
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#27. Australia

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
National
- Number of residents: 7,041
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
- #34 most common country of origin
28 / 29
Bettmann // Getty Images

#28. Europe (not otherwise specified)

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.04%
National
- Number of residents: 2,272
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #41 most common country of origin
29 / 29
FPG // Getty Images

#29. Belgium

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.04%
National
- Number of residents: 29,848
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.29%
- #24 most common country of origin

Trending Now