ImmigrationFilter: What countries have had both breadth and depth in immigration?
March 20, 2011 7:00 PM   Subscribe

What countries have had both breadth and depth in immigration?

What countries should come to mind when I try to think of places that have both breadth (many sources) and depth (lots and lots from each) in terms of immigration?

I know the USA, Canada, and Brazil would all qualify. Surely there are more out there that I'm not thinking of or aware of.

This is asked without regard to legality of that immigration, was it done under duress, how were the immigrants received by the new society, when the immigration took place (currently vs decades ago) etc.

Thanks in advance for broadening my perspective!
posted by AMSBoethius to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Europe, at least when taken as a whole. Individual countries may get the bulk of their immigrants from particular sources, e.g. Germany has a lot of Turks, France has a lot of Algerians, etc., but the EU as a unit is pretty broad-spectrum.

Check this net immigration projection map. Doesn't look like Brazil actually counts there. And the Middle East gets most of its migrants from a few mostly poorer places in Asia.

So basically, you're looking at the US, Canada, and Europe, with Australia trailing.
posted by valkyryn at 7:06 PM on March 20, 2011

Best answer: Israel's Jewish population is the product of a lot of immigration from many parts of the world: North America, South America, Europe, Asia (namely, former Soviet republics), North Africa, the Middle East, South Africa, Ethiopia, and even India. The article I linked has a good table. About a third of the Jewish population is foreign born. (By contrast, about 12 or 13% of Americans are foreign-born.)
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:13 PM on March 20, 2011

How recent does it need to be? If you are counting back to the early part of the twentieth century, Brazil would certainly qualify (as might Mexico, Argentina, and some other Latin American countries), but if you are looking for the past decade or so, I don't think any of those countries will count.
posted by Forktine at 7:13 PM on March 20, 2011

Australia qualifies, but with two major qualifications: only in the post-1945 period, and only relative to our population—though per-capita we're an immigrant society, in absolute numbers we take relatively few immigrants compared to vastly bigger countries like France, the UK, and the USA.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:22 PM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In response to Forktine, probably any time within the last century would do.
posted by AMSBoethius at 7:25 PM on March 20, 2011

Malaysia came to my mind. The population now is around ~65% Malay and "bumiputra", ~25% Chinese (from various regions), and ~10% Indian (mostly Tamil). From my impression these communities are not well-integrated. I think there are considerable racial tension. There is a saying in Malaysia that the Malay got the power, the Chinese got the money and the Indian got nothing. The portion of Chinese population was even higher in 1960s but two things happened since then. Malaysia kicked Singapore out of the Federation and Chinese has lower birth rate.

Chinese have been moving to Malaysia for centuries, but the trend accelerated during British rule. A lot of them moved there during mid 1800s to early-1900s to mine tin and work in rubber plantation.

Large number of Indian also moved there starting in 1870s to work in rubber plantation.

The migration of Chinese stopped after World War 2. I'm not so sure about Indian migration but I suspect that currently Malay majority government is not too interested in diluting their majority with further immigration.

Significant migration of Indian also occured from 1879 to 1919 to work in sugarcane plantation in Fiji . Indo-Fiji now made up 38% of population. My impression is these community also is not getting along. There have been four coups in past two decade. See Fiji Coup of 2000 and this.
posted by Carius at 7:46 PM on March 20, 2011

Best answer: This NYTimes infographic is a good jumping off point.
posted by munchingzombie at 7:46 PM on March 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you include all of the last century, then I think you could safely include not only big countries like Brazil and Mexico, but also a bunch of other countries in the Americas like Jamaica, Guyana, Belize, Uruguay, etc. Those were the decades when huge immigration came from Italy, Germany, and Spain to the southern cone and Mexico, and from India, China, the middle east, and elsewhere to many of the Caribbean and Central American countries.
posted by Forktine at 8:37 PM on March 20, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers everyone! They've all been informative.
posted by AMSBoethius at 9:09 PM on March 20, 2011

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