Chinese and Irish Immigrants in Frontier California, 1860-1900

Ken Chew, University of California, Irvine

This study explores the larger context of Chinese American migration during the 19th-century, whose pattern foreshadowed contemporary global labor force exchange. Historical U.S. census microdata (1860-1900) are used (1) in a contrast between urban industrial Massachusetts and frontier California, and (2) within California, to compare Chinese and Irish immigrants (who shared adjacent rungs near the bottom of the economic ladder). Successive census cross-sections reveal trends in demographic composition, industry and occupation, nativity and place of birth, and living arrangements. Households and other living arrangements that integrated Chinese with non-Chinese are examined in detail.

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Presented in Poster Session 3