Working Paper No. 181 | December 1996

Which Immigrant Occupational Skills?

Explanations of Jewish Economic Mobility in the United States and New Evidence, 1910–1920

Researchers have long sought explanations for the success of Jews who migrated to the United States at the turn of the century in attaining middle-class status. East European Jews arrived in the United States at the same time as many other ethnic groups between 1880 and 1920, yet achieved economic success far faster. In the search for an explanation, Senior Scholar Joel Perlmann draws on data from the 1910 and 1920 US Censuses, which allow for comparison among ethnic groups. One explanation offered for Jewish mobility is that the skills of Jewish immigrants—the industrial skills acquired as artisans and craftsmen—matched the needs and opportunities in the American economy at the time they immigrated.

Publication Highlight

Book Series
America Classifies the Immigrants
From Ellis Island to the 2020 Census
Author(s): Joel Perlmann
April 2018

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