Italian immigrants: Early Immigration
Italian immigrants: Late Nineteenth Century Immigration
Italian immigrants: Twentieth Century Trends
Italian immigrants: Italian Religion and Culture
Italian immigrants: Families
Italian immigrants: Italian Stereotypes
Italian immigrants: Italian Contributions to American Cuisine
Significance: The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw a large-scale influx of Italian immigrants to the United States. Most of them settled in East Coast cities such as New York and Philadelphia. By the early twenty-first century, people of Italian heritage constituted 6 percent of the total American population and ranked as the fifth-largest ethnic group in the United States.
|Country of origin||Italy|
|Primary regions of U.S. settlement||Northeast|
|Earliest significant arrivals||Seventeenth century|
|Peak immigration period||1880’s-1920’s|
|Twenty-first century legal residents*||21,028 (2,629 per year)|
*Immigrants who obtained legal permanent resident status in the United States.
Source: Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2008.
Italians began immigrating to North America during the early colonial period, but massive Italian immigration began only during the late nineteenth century. The new immigrants faced problems similar to those encountered by earlier waves of foreign immigrants, such as the Irish. Most of them tended to gravitate to the eastern cities, in which they created “Little Italies.” Their assimilation progressed slowly and was often hampered by the perception that many Italians were members of the criminal Mafia. By the late twentieth century, however, Italian Americans occupied prominent positions in most sectors of American life.
Norma Corigliano Noonan
See also: Anti-Catholicism; Argentine immigrants; Atlas, Charles; European immigrants; Films; Godfather trilogy; History of immigration after 1891; Immigration waves; Italian American press; Little Italies; Ponzi, Charles; Sacco and Vanzetti trial; Tammany Hall.