Iron and steel industry: Life in the Steel Communities

Iron and steel industry

Iron and steel industry: Late Nineteenth Century Immigrants

Iron and steel industry: Struggle to Unionize

Second- and third-generation immigrants and their families built more comfortable lives in steel communities such as Johnstown and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Youngstown, Ohio, from the 1940’s through the 1960’s. However, as succeeding generations were assimilating into American society, the nation also experienced a severe economic malaise beginning during the early 1970’s that corresponded with corporate decisions to relocate entire steel facilities away from the northern United States. This deindustrialization of the steel industries during the 1970’s and 1980’s led to the wholesale closing of steel production in Youngstown and Pittsburgh that caused devastating unemployment. This, in turn, forced subsequent generations of immigrant children to struggle to survive in what was left of the industry in their communities or to search for other work elsewhere, away from their ancestral homes. Many of the hard-hit communities remained economically devastated into the twenty-first century. Some have survived to host other forms of employment and newer generations of ethnic families. All, however, still bear the imprints of their original immigrant communities.

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