1833 Italian immigration mystery

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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MarcuccioV
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Re: 1833 Italian immigration mystery

Post by MarcuccioV »

joetucciarone wrote: 08 Jun 2021, 14:26 It's likely the 1833 spike of Italian immigrants didn't happen. In 1958, Giovanni Schiavo wrote "Four centuries of Italian-American history." In it, he said the immigration figures for the period between 1831 and 1840 were "somewhat strange," noting that only 3 Italians came in 1832 and 1,699 came in 1833. He said "Why such an extraordinary jump all of a sudden, it is hard to conjecture, even if one takes into account that a number of political exiles arrived from Italy or Austria (where the Italians had been kept in jail) during 1833."

I decided to look at the 1833 ship manifests. Between January 1 and April 15, no more than 20 Italians arrived in New York and New Orleans. If Italian immigration had been fairly steady, I expected to have counted nearly 600 in those first 3 months. So, unless throngs of Italians immigrated between May and December 1833, the official U.S. Census Bureau's figure of 1,699 Italian immigrants for that year appears to be bogus!
Makes sense. Seemed like an odd spike. I would have expected more of a rise, peak and gradual reduction. I'd bet it was "169", and the inputter mistakenly hit the "9" twice...
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darkerhorse
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Re: 1833 Italian immigration mystery

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You'd have to wonder how a clerical error like that could go undetected or unfixed by the Census Bureau. I still think it's possible that the "spike" is due not to "error" but to "artifact", perhaps and administrative or definitional issue, as preciously mentioned.

Also, did the clerk hit the wrong keys for "Other Southern European", too, or am I missing something?
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joetucciarone
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Re: 1833 Italian immigration mystery

Post by joetucciarone »

I agree that the 1833 spike in Italian immigration could have been more than a clerical hiccup. As you mentioned, the immigration numbers for the "Other Southern European" countries showed a similar, singular uptick for 1833. How could two nearly identical errors occur for different countries for the same year? Here's the 1957 book containing the census spikes:

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Hi ... =en&gbpv=0

A lot of scholars worked on this book, and it doesn't seem possible that they could have been so careless.
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MarcuccioV
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Re: 1833 Italian immigration mystery

Post by MarcuccioV »

Just another one of those "mysteries for the ages"... :wink:
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