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Transatlantic Relation Area

Instituto Franklin > Research > Transatlantic Relation Area > Spanish Migration to the United States, 1880-1940

Spanish Migration to the United States, 1880-1940

Project of the 7th Innova Plan USA (2018-2020)

 Funding: 3.000€

The main objective of this project is to study the Spanish migration to the United States between 1880 and 1940 from the exploitation of the microdata from the United States censuses carried out between these dates. This data has recently been digitalized and harmonized by the University of Minnesota. Therefore, they are available to the research community. These are individual records that do not adhere to the data protection law of the United States, which requires keeping the confidentiality of the census information for a period of 72 years. Once this period has passed, the records can be used with all the original information, including the geographical location and the socio-demographic characteristics of the individuals. The census data is organized by household, and it, therefore, informs of the characteristics of each member of the same household. The preliminary analysis of the census data of 1930 shows a total of 57 thousand migrants. If we include the second generations, the number increases until the 117 thousand cases, of which we had very little information to this day.

Spanish migration towards the United States dates back to the discovery of the American continent. Since then, the presence of Spaniards in this country has been constant. However, compared with other destinations, the emigration to the United States has been little studied. Qualitative nature works and those focused on little communities are emphasized. No demographic study has been carried out with a solid empirical base that covers the totality of the Spanish population, and even less, the second generations.

The scarcity of data and the fact that the United States was not one of the main destinations of Spanish migration in the Americas justifies, in some way, the low number of investigations carried out on the subject. Thanks to the full availability of the individual microdata of the census from 1880 to 1940, the situation can be completely reverted by initiating, with this project, a very productive line of research. This research would not only allow to quantify the impact of the migration in the United States, but also the pattern of settlement, family strategies and economic activities of migration. Each of these factors results in an unparalleled geographical detail that allows working with data on a county scale and reproduce the geography of the Spanish migration in the United States. This is a groundbreaking study, not only for the Spanish migration in the United States, but also for any other group of migrants in this country. The publication of this data is so recent that hardly any baseline studies have been published.

The reference period, 1880-1940, is defined by the availability of the microdata, but also represents, in the history of the relation between Spain and the United States, the period of greatest migratory intensity of its history. Between 1880 and 1930, the number of Spaniards in the United States went from 5 thousand to 57 thousand.

Principal Investigators (PI):

  • Albert Esteve (Centro de Estudios Demográficos, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona) PhD in Demography by the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona and director of the Centro de Estudios Demográficos, one of the five most important European demographic centers. Albert Esteve is an expert in family and household demography. He has been an investigator of the Minnesota Population Center (2001-04), in the University of Minnesota, and the National Institute of Demographic Studies in Paris (2005). He has published over 70 papers in the most prestigious international magazines of demography. He has lead projects of the National R+D+I Plan and of the European Union framework programs, including a project Starting Grant of the European Research Council. He is an expert in the harmonization of international microdata. He is a principal investigator of the project IECM for the integration of European census microdata and member of the scientific council of the project Integrated Public Use of Microdata Series (University of Minnesota).

 

  • Rosalina Alcalde (Department of Sociology, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona) PhD in Sociology by the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona and professor of sociology in the same University. She has been an investigator of the Center of Studies of Migration and Ethnic Minorities of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona since 2000. Nowadays she also collaborates with the Instituto Franklin-UAH. In the year 2014 she was awarded second with the national award of investigation, the Santo Padre Rubio award for the advance in the Knowledge on immigration, by the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas. She has over 50 publications related to international migration. Among other topics, is one of the main expects in the migration of Spaniards to the United States and a pioneer in the studies of the contemporary Spanish migration towards the North American country.

‘Spaniards in the United States, 1880-1940’ is a collaboration of the Instituto Franklin-UAH and the Centre d’Etudis Demogràfics in the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona to study the Spanish emigration in the United States in the last decades of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century. In this web page you will find information about the geographical distribution and weight of the Spanish emigration in the United States as well as its basic socio-demographic characteristics. The study distinguishes between the first generation (the protagonists of the emigration) and the second generation (their direct descendants). This work is completely based on the microdata of the United States censuses from 1880 and 1940, available for the project IPUMS-USA, based on the University of Minnesota.

The project has its own website that you can consult HERE.

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