Chinese and Irish Immigrants in Frontier California, 1860-1900

Ken Chew, University of California, Irvine

This study attempts to sketch out the social and demographic context missing from earlier studies of Chinese Americans, whose 19th-century migration patterns were precursors of contemporary global labor force exchange. Historical U.S. census microdata for the years 1860-1900 are used for comparisons between Massachusetts and California and, within California, between Chinese and Irish immigrants, who shared demographic, historical, and symbolic commonalities. Successive census cross-sections are used to explore changes in demographic composition, industry and occupation, nativity and place of birth, and living arrangements, with special scrutiny of households or other living arrangements that integrated Chinese with non-Chinese.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 80: Racial and Ethnic Differentials in Nineteenth Century Demographic Behavior