What Wilkes-Barre's immigrant population looked like in 1900

Written by:
June 27, 2022
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What Wilkes-Barre'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 Wilkes-Barre 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 barbecue restaurants in Wilkes-Barre

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#1. Germany

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2,792
- Percent of foreign born residents: 22.91%
National
- Number of residents: 2,669,164
- Percent of foreign born residents: 25.52%
- #1 most common country of origin
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#2. Wales

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2,083
- Percent of foreign born residents: 17.09%
National
- Number of residents: 93,744
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.90%
- #20 most common country of origin
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FPG // Getty Images

#3. Ireland

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 2,034
- Percent of foreign born residents: 16.69%
National
- Number of residents: 1,619,409
- Percent of foreign born residents: 15.48%
- #2 most common country of origin
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Minnesota Historical Society // Getty Images

#4. Poland

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1,632
- Percent of foreign born residents: 13.39%
National
- Number of residents: 383,595
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.67%
- #8 most common country of origin
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Bettmann // Getty Images

#5. England

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1,578
- Percent of foreign born residents: 12.95%
National
- Number of residents: 843,491
- Percent of foreign born residents: 8.06%
- #4 most common country of origin
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#6. Russia

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 469
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.85%
National
- Number of residents: 424,372
- Percent of foreign born residents: 4.06%
- #7 most common country of origin
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Smith Collection/Gado // Getty Images

#7. Hungary

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 304
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.49%
National
- Number of residents: 145,815
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.39%
- #14 most common country of origin
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Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#8. Scotland

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 257
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.11%
National
- Number of residents: 234,699
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.24%
- #11 most common country of origin
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#9. Austria

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 237
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.94%
National
- Number of residents: 276,702
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.65%
- #10 most common country of origin
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Minnesota Historical Society // Getty Images

#10. Sweden

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 192
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.58%
National
- Number of residents: 574,625
- Percent of foreign born residents: 5.49%
- #5 most common country of origin
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#11. Italy

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 189
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.55%
National
- Number of residents: 484,703
- Percent of foreign born residents: 4.63%
- #6 most common country of origin
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Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#12. Canada

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 103
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.85%
National
- Number of residents: 1,183,225
- Percent of foreign born residents: 11.31%
- #3 most common country of origin
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#13. Switzerland

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 81
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.66%
National
- Number of residents: 115,959
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.11%
- #15 most common country of origin
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Bettmann // Getty Images

#14. Other countries

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 52
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.43%
National
- Number of residents: 2,587
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #39 most common country of origin
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Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#15. France

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 34
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.28%
National
- Number of residents: 104,534
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.00%
- #18 most common country of origin
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#16. Asia (except China, Japan, and India)

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 26
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.21%
National
- Number of residents: 11,928
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
- #27 most common country of origin
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FPG // Getty Images

#17. Bohemia

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 19
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.16%
National
- Number of residents: 156,999
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.50%
- #12 most common country of origin
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#18. Denmark

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 15
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.12%
National
- Number of residents: 154,616
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.48%
- #13 most common country of origin
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Buyenlarge // Getty Images

#19. Norway

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 14
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
National
- Number of residents: 338,426
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.24%
- #9 most common country of origin
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Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#20. Australia

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 14
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
National
- Number of residents: 7,041
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
- #34 most common country of origin
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Bettmann // Getty Images

#21. Central America

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 13
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
National
- Number of residents: 3,911
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.04%
- #36 most common country of origin
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Lewis W. Hine // Getty Images

#22. Born at sea

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 10
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
National
- Number of residents: 8,310
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
- #32 most common country of origin
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Bettmann // Getty Images

#23. Turkey

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 9
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
National
- Number of residents: 9,949
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
- #30 most common country of origin
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#24. South America

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 4
- 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
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Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#25. Holland

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 4
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
National
- Number of residents: 105,098
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.00%
- #17 most common country of origin
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FPG // Getty Images

#26. China

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 4
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
National
- Number of residents: 106,659
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.02%
- #16 most common country of origin
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Universal History Archive // Getty Images

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

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 14,468
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.14%
- #26 most common country of origin
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ullstein bild // Getty Images

#28. Spain

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 7,284
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
- #33 most common country of origin
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ullstein bild Dtl. // Getty Images

#29. Pacific Islands (except Phillipine Islands)

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 2,659
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
- #38 most common country of origin
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Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#30. India

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 2,069
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #42 most common country of origin
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Interim Archives // Getty Images

#31. Greece

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 8,655
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
- #31 most common country of origin
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Hulton Deutsch // Getty Images

#32. Cuba

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 11,159
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
- #28 most common country of origin
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FPG // Getty Images

#33. Belgium

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 29,848
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.29%
- #24 most common country of origin
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Historical // Getty Images

#34. Atlantic Islands

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 10,955
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
- #29 most common country of origin
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Bettmann // Getty Images

#35. Africa

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
- Number of residents: 1
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 2,577
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #40 most common country of origin

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