Nations of immigrants and the future


Hat tip to Jim Rose.

I’ve always thought of the United States as a nation particularly welcoming to immigrants, but the chart shows many other nations have proportionately larger immigrant populations than the USA.

I’m less surprised at the high ranking of Australia, New Zealand and Canada as at nations such as Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Ireland, which I’ve always thought of as ethnically and culturally homogeneous.

I’d be interested in the figures for Argentina, Brazil and other Latin American countries.

[Update 2016/5/19.  I came across an interesting interactive graphic, Origins and Destinations of the World’s Migrants, 1990-2015, from Pew Research Center that answers my question.  Also, I forgot about peoplemovin- A visualization of migrant flows, an interactive graphic to which I linked previously.]


The USA should be especially welcoming to immigrants because American national identity is—ideally—based on loyalty to a Constitution, not on ancestry, as in Germany until a short time ago, or assimilation into a culture, as in France.

In other words, in principle, anybody from anywhere can become an American, with full rights as an American citizen, provided they meet certain conditions.

I don’t deny the existence of anti-immigrant sentiment, past or present, in the USA, but I believe the ideal of constitutional patriotism has prevailed in the past and hope it will continue.

It is conceivable that, a century from now, a majority of Americans will be light brown, bilingual in Spanish and English, and still loyal to the Constitution and the ideals in the Declaration of Independence.

But can anybody from anywhere become Swiss or Austrian or Irish or a citizen of any other nation with a centuries-old homogeneous culture?  That’s a question I can’t answer.

I read an article some months ago about Icelandic families offering to take in Syrian refugee children.  They promised to teach the children Icelandic and prepare them in every way to fit in to Icelandic society.  So the children would have everything but would no longer by Syrian.  I wonder what people in Syria thought of this.

Modern transportation allows almost anybody in the world to go anywhere in the world.  What will become of national identities and cultures in a world like this?  In a century, will there be a blended global culture?  Or will there be national identities and cultures disconnected from geography, as in Neal Stephenson’s SF novel, The Diamond Age?

I don’t have good answers to these questions.  How about you?

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