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Trump Wishes We Had More Immigrants From Norway. Turns Out We Once Did

Norwegian immigrants on their approach to America on a SS Hero in 1870.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images


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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Norwegian immigrants on their approach to America on a SS Hero in 1870.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In a Thursday assembly in that President Trump complained about “having all these people from shithole countries come here” — and singled out Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as examples — he also combined that, “we should have some-more people from Norway.”

In fact there was a time when we did.

From 1870 to 1910 a entertain of Norway’s working-age race emigrated, mostly to a United States. You review that right — one-fourth of a workers left a country.

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Back afterwards Norway was utterly poor. Wages were reduction than a third of what they were in a United States. And a call of flight out of a republic fast benefited those who remained. That’s since it reduced a supply of workers in Norway, so those left behind could approach aloft wages. And this helped slight Norway’s salary opening with a U.S. by 25 percent over that same 40-year period, putting Norway on a trail toward a standing currently as one of world’s many moneyed nations.

Those are a commentary of a paper published in European Review of Economic History behind in 1997 by dual economists. It’s deliberate a seminal work since a authors — Alan Taylor of a University of California Davis and Jeffrey Williamson — afterwards of Harvard University, now highbrow emeritus during a University of Wisconsin, Madison — combed by paper repository to square together a initial truly extensive design of salary differentials opposite European countries and a United States during that time.

“They were a pioneers unequivocally — a initial to do that,” says Michael Clemens, an economist during a Center for Global Development, a D.C. thinktank, who specializes on a purpose of emigration in shortening poverty.

Then in 2008 a resources of new information became accessible about Norway that combined nonetheless another turn to a picture: It turns out that a immigrants that Norway sent to a U.S. during that good emigration call of a 1870s were a lowest and slightest prepared citizens. Researchers were means to establish this interjection to newly digitized census information from Norway. (Other European countries have embarked on identical efforts though Norway, with usually around 2 million residents in a early census data, finished a charge first. That has finished Norway a go-to republic for researchers of chronological economics.)

Leah Boustan, an economist during Princeton University, and several collaborators have finished some of a many ground-breaking work of this kind.

“We combined approach name matches between people who seem in a 1865 Norway census as children,” Boustan explains, “and afterwards we looked during a 1900 census in Norway and a 1900 census in a United States. If we found we in a 1900 U.S. census we knew we had migrated.”

From this information they dynamic that those who left Norway came from “some of a lowest learned families. They are entrance from possibly farming areas or they are [the product of fathers holding] reduce learned laborer positions in cities,” she says.

And on attainment in a United States these Norwegian immigrants remained during a bottom of a socioeconomic ladder. Compared to immigrants from a 15 other European nations that contributed to this good call of arrivals, “the Norwegians hold a lowest paid occupations in a U.S.,” says Boustan.

“They tended to be plantation laborers. They were also fishermen. If they were in cities they were only arrange of in a primer labor difficulty — what currently we would consider of as a day laborer.”

“So when we demeanour during a people withdrawal Norway we do collect adult utterly a bit of justification of a poor, huddled masses,” she says, referring to a famous Emma Lazarus poem during a feet of a Statue of Liberty.

And nonetheless their descendants would eventually locate adult to a rest of a U.S. population, it took a while. Twenty years after their attainment in a United States, a Norwegian immigrants were still creation 14 percent reduction than native-born workers.

In other words, they common a lot in common with many of today’s immigrants from … El Salvador, Haiti and Africa.

Editor’s note: NPR has motionless in this box to spell out a coarse word that a boss reportedly used since it meets our customary for use of descent language: It is “absolutely constituent to a definition and suggestion of a story being told.”