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Look!! Who has immigrated to the United States since 1820

GIZMODO.COM – Immigration is a hot topic in the United States right now, thanks in part to a rather blustery presidential candidate. But as this animated map created by Metrocosm reminds us, migrants have been a defining aspect of the U.S. for centuries.

From 1920 to 2013, 79 million people obtained lawful permanent resident status in the United States. This map visualizes all of them based on their prior country of residence. The brightness of a country corresponds to its total migration to the U.S. at the given time.

1 dot = 10,000 people

This interactive visualization was created by Max Galka, an entrepreneur and data wonk based in New York City. Using information culled from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics, Galka’s colorful map shows who has immigrated to the United States since 1820, and where they came from. Each tiny dot that trickles across the ocean represents 10,000 individuals.


During the first half of the 19th century, the bulk of migrants came from the UK and Ireland. But then the floodgates opened up as Europeans, primarily from Italy, Germany, and Russia, began to stream in. This trend continued well into the early parts of the 20th century, but immigration stalled during WWII. After this period, migrants began to come in from the Americas and then finally from Asia.

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