Since Philadelphia’s founding as one of the first major American cities, immigrants from all over the world have flocked to it. Dutch, Swedes, and English were the first settlers in the area, but modern immigration into the city has been dominated by Asians and Hispanics. By 2006, the greater Philadelphia area was home to more than one-half million foreign-born residents–a figure that was growing at a rate of about 20,000 people a year.
The earliest European settlers in the Delaware River valley arrived during the early seventeenth century.
By the time of the late eighteenth century American Revolution, Philadelphia was one of the most important cities in the British North American colonies. Its prime location as a port city helped it emerge as a hub of the growing country and no doubt helped attract more settlers. The fact that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both written in Philadelphia cemented the city’s reputation as a major metropolitan area.
The first great wave of immigration to Philadelphia occurred during the second half of the nineteenth century, when
During the late twentieth century, the composition of Philadelphia’s population underwent a shift, as many long-established white families moved from the central city to the outlying suburbs of Greater Philadelphia. As they moved out, many foreign immigrants, especially Asians and Hispanics, moved in. Asian immigrants created an ethnic enclave in central Philadelphia that became known as
The impact of Hispanic immigration is most evident in the Fairhill district of Philadelphia, an area that has been nicknamed El Centro del Oro (the golden center). By the early twenty-first century,
In 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan area was the fifth largest in the United States and had one of the largest and fastest-growing immigrant populations among major American cities. The city was home to the second-largest communities of Irish and Italian ancestry in the United States. In addition to increasing numbers of Asians and Hispanics, Philadelphia has also become home to many Greek, Pakistani, and African immigrants.
Avery, Ron. A Concise History of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Otis Books, 1999. Davis, Allen Freeman, and Mark H. Haller, eds. The Peoples of Philadelphia: A History of Ethnic Groups and Lower-class Life, 1790-1940. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998. Mauger, Edward Arthur. Philadelphia Then and Now. San Diego: Thunder Bay Press, 2002.
Civil War, U.S.
Melting pot theory
Philadelphia anti-Irish riots