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The Slate Vault today highlighted a “data-packed” map of American immigration in 1903 from the annual report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration. The Vault always posts interesting and beautiful maps, images etc. They also linked to anew-to-me site called Handsome Atlas that has some beautiful scans and visualizations of historic US atlases. GO and check them out.
But what they didn’t mention was that this Annual Report — technically titled the “Annual report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration to the Secretary of the Treasury for the fiscal year ended …” — is available in libraries around the country as it was distributed by the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) AND that the map “Race and occupation of immigrants by destination” is just one of the many maps, statistical tables, infographics, and photographs embedded in these annual reports. Stanford University Library, where I work, has the annual report going back to 1892!
And, yes, you can find this publication in Google Books, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive, BUT you WON’T find any of the many foldout maps/infographics because they simply weren’t weren’t scanned.
A reader could use the map to see which proportion of the immigrant population of a state came from each of six “races or peoples”: “Teutonic,” “Keltic,” “Slavic,” “Iberic,” “Mongolic,” or Other. These designations echoed popular eugenic racial ideologies of the time, which used quasi-scientific theories to lump people into basic groups of origin understood to share common characteristics. The bars showing percentages of immigrants in each state color-code the newcomers according to “race or people,” so that these can be seen at a glance, then use text to explain which countries these “Mongolians” or “Slavics” came from.
The map was put together as part of an annual report made for the Commission-General of Immigration, and printed by the Government Printing Office in 1903.
These presentations from the September 12, 2014 Quarterly Meeting of COPAFS are must-sees for government information professionals. The theme for this meeting was “Coming, Going, Being Born and Dying: Immigration and Vital Statistics.” The collection of these data and the publication and distribution of the data and the statistics derived from the data are complex, even complicated, but these four presentation contain an amazing wealth of information, tips, examples, and links that you will refer to again and again.
COPAFS, the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, represents over 300,000 individual researchers, educators, public health professionals, civic groups, and businesses that rely on the quality and accessibility of statistics that can only be effectively collected by the federal government.
Summary of meeting (pdf).
Presentations from the September 12, 2014 Quarterly Meeting
- DHS Office of Immigration Statistics: Data, Reporting, and Analysis (pdf, 291 KB) by Bryan Baker, Office of Immigration Statistics.
A walk-through of a complex network of sources of data on migration to and from the country including flows of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), data from the State Department and the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), naturalization data, data on temporary foreign born visitors to the U.S. from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and more.
- Data Sources on the Foreign Born and Immigration from the U.S. Census Bureau (pdf, 798 KB) by Elizabeth Grieco, Chief, Foreign-Born Population Branch, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau.
Discussion of Census data useful for analyzing characteristics of the foreign-born population and immigration into the U.S. (The American Community Survey (ACS) is the preeminent, though not only source of data on the foreign born population.)
- Vital for a Reason (pdf, 877 KB) by Shawna Webster, Chief Operating Officer, National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems.
- What’s New (and Improved!) in Vital Statistics (pdf, 831 KB) by Joyce A. Martin, Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics.
Webster and Martin review the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program under which 57 different areas (50 States, DC, New York City, and 5 U.S. Territories) report vital statistics to the federal government. NAPHSIS and NCHS collaborate in efforts to standardize reporting so that data are comparable, enhance data quality, improve timeliness, and increase confidential data accessibility. Webster demonstrated just how far they had come in getting States to adopt electronic reporting of birth (almost all States; See Webster’s slides) and death registrations. She emphasized the facts that vital statistics users’ needs are best met through (near) real-time mortality surveillance and partnerships that support the modernization of vital statistics. Martin reports that coverage of births and deaths is basically at 100-percent.