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Chicago: City of the Century
The Film and More
Special Features
Do You Know Chicago?
Decades of Immigrants
Made in Chicago
Faces in the Crowd
Eight Anarchists
Then and Now
Your Kind of Town

People and Events
Teacher's Guide

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Decades of Immigrants

Open 'Decades of Immigrants' Thousands upon thousands of poor but hopeful travelers set out for America, in search of a better life. Railroads, canals, meatpacking plants -- there was opportunity in Chicago.

Immigrants learned that to survive and prosper in a hostile urban environment of unleashed capital, they needed to stick together. Mutual aid societies and houses of worship provided support and kept their histories and languages alive. The strong communal bonds that could in effect relocate a European village to a single tenement are evident today in many of Chicago's neighborhoods. While the points of origin may have changed over the years, Chicago continues to welcome a significant immigrant population.

Decades of Immigrants
Examine Chicago's top immigrant groups decade by decade, in U.S. Census data from 1850 until 1990. Each year highlights a different country of origin from the top five immigrant groups of that year.

1850 (France)
1860 (Scotland)
1870 (Norway)
1880 (Ireland)
1890 (England)
1900 (Bohemia)
1910 (Austria)
1920 (Russia)
1930 (Germany)
1940 (Sweden)
1950 (Poland)
1960 (Italy)
1970 (Mexico)
1980 (Philippines)
1990 (Korea)

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