Immigration and immigration policy are some of the biggest discussions happening in international and domestic politics right now. From building walls to opening borders, a definitive plan has not been made about how to deal with the large number of people who are fleeing their home countries in hopes of a different life.
Earlier last year, Metrocosm, a website dedicated to data visualization, decided to visualize the United States' legal immigration data from 1820 to 2013 into an interactive map that shows from where and with which frequency people immigrated legally to the United States in search of the American Dream.
A couple of things to note about this visualization: each moving dot represents 10,000 people who legally immigrated to the US. This also only represents the number of people coming from other countries to America, not the total number of people from those countries immigrating elsewhere.
It's interesting to see the change in immigration trends as time goes on. During most of the 1800s, the majority of immigrants coming to America were of European descent.
As we moved into the 1900s, there was an influx of of immigrants from the Americas (Canada and Mexico) and, later in the century, Asia.
By the 2000s, large numbers of immigrants were coming from all over the world.
As you can see in the above GIF, which is incredibly striking, by 2013, there were very few countries that didn't produce thousands of immigrants to the United States.
Usually, the massive waves of immigrants were due to major political or economic suffering, such as the Irish during the Potato Famine in the mid-1800s and Cubans during the post-Castro revolution starting in 1960.
This data is extremely important to absorb because immigration to the US was one of the major topics of the 2016 election that just concluded. Given that America has prided itself on being a "melting pot" of cultural and ethnic diversity for so long for so many people, it will be interesting to see how President Trump decides to take on this issue and how the map will look from 2017 onward.
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