Because it borders Canada’s Quebec province, New Hampshire has long attracted French Canadian immigrants but relatively few immigrants from other countries. During the late twentieth century, increasing numbers of Asians began coming to New Hampshire.
The earliest New Hampshire immigrants were chiefly
The history of Manchester, New Hampshire’s, Amoskeag textile mill, at one time the largest fabric plant in the world, provides a window into immigrant life in the state. Its labor force was at first dominated by young descendants of early English settlers. During the 1850’s and 1860’s these workers were gradually replaced by the incoming
During the 1870’s, land scarcity in Quebec impelled more French Canadians to go to New Hampshire, where many of them worked in the Amoskeag textile mill. These people were found to make docile, industrious, and stable workers. Moreover, French Canadians generally had large families and were willing to let their children work in the mill, so the company solicited more emigration from Quebec. By the turn of the twentieth century,
Until 1922, Amoskeag had avoided the labor strikes that had begun to disrupt production in other New England textile mills. However, during that year, the company’s simultaneous increase of hours and reduction of wages provoked a strike. After the strike was settled, worker confidence in both their company and their union declined. During the Great Depression of the next decade, the century-old company went out of business. However, despite the hard times they faced, relatively few of the displaced workers left Manchester.
New Hampshire has attracted fewer immigrants than the majority of states. During the early years of the twenty-first century, only about 5 percent of its citizens were foreign-born immigrants–a percentage less than half of the national average. However, between 2000 and 2005, new immigration saw an increase of 36 percent in the state’s Hispanic population and 40 percent in the Asian population. Both groups are quite diverse in New Hampshire. The Hispanics include
New immigration has brought new concerns to New Hampshire. While many residents of the state welcome the immigrants’ contributions to the workforce, others are worried about the numbers of
Armstrong, John Borden. Factory Under the Elms: A History of Harrisville, New Hampshire, 1774-1969. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1969. Brault, Gerard J. The French-Canadian Heritage in New England. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1986. Hareven, Tamara K., and Randolph Langenbach. Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory-City. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978. Heffernan, Nancy Coffey, and Ann Page Stecker. New Hampshire: Crosscurrents in Its Development. 3d ed. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2004.
Canada vs. United States as immigrant destinations