Reasons For Immigration

Top 10 Reasons For Immigration To America Throughout History

Every person coming to America has had their own reasons for immigration, all of which have played a huge role in changing the history and diversity of the country.  Between the years of 1870 and 1914 alone, over 34 million Europeans left behind their country and headed to the United States.  Issues such as wages, population growth, economic and political conditions and degrees of urbanization and industrialization all were factors then and continue to be underlying causes today for immigration.



  1. Family – Many people either become married to an American citizen or they are following their loved ones who have already moved to the country.  Promises and stories of better living conditions or the opportunity to begin a new life with more opportunities are usually involved.
  1. Adoption – This has been one of the key reasons for immigration in the country for many years.  In history, the orphan train would carry up to 200,000 children from city to city throughout the United States, South America and Canada to sell to wanting families.
  1. Ethnic or Religious Persecution – America offers the freedom to pursue your own lifestyle or religious beliefs which is very appealing to dwellers of many other countries who do not have that freedom.  Many years ago, the persecution of the Jewish communities forced them to move continuously from location to location to keep their families safe.
  1. Natural Disasters – Floods, drought, volcanoes, fires, earthquakes and hurricanes are all natural disaster reasons for immigration.  Throughout history, life-altering catastrophes have caused people to move from one place to another.  Survivors of these tragedies are forced to abandon their homes and move to new, safer locations.

  1. Economic Problems – When an area undergoes serious economic problems, immigration to a more promising land is often the outcome.  In the 1800s, many laboring men of France could not find enough work to make the money that they needed to feed their families because of inflation.  When the Erie Canal opened and there was word of strong development in New York, they sold everything and moved to the Buffalo area.
  1. War – Through history, war has always been one of the primary reasons for immigration. Destruction and conflict are two huge causes for the upheaval of people.  They could be fleeing from armies or simply trying to protect themselves and their families.  Also, many lost their homes or possessions because of bombing or they may have been targets for ethnic, religious or political persecution.
  1. Slavery – Unfortunately, the incredibly heinous act of slavery was the cause for ripping a multitude of innocent families apart and moving thousands of people away from each other.  The exchange or sale of human beings introduced African dwellers to the New World.  They were then moved from place to place due to barter or sale.
  1. Criminal Incarceration – Many criminals throughout history have been moved to colonies to fulfill their sentences with extremely hard labor.  Some were simply offered the option to move to a colony instead of facing prolonged imprisonment.
  1. Political Strife – Many times throughout history, political conditions have been too hard to endure so people would flee to other countries.  Many Europeans have found this to be one of the top reasons for immigration to America to seek freedom from their country's political oppression.
  1. Financial Opportunity – A great number of immigrants have come to America for the opportunity that the country promises.  The chance to start a new life and prosper is a dream for many people in countries around the world.  The opportunity for financial success has always been and will continue to be one of the most popular reasons for immigration.