Friday, April 18, 2008

Three Waves of Ukrainian Immigration

Ukrainian Americans, or residents of the U.S. who trace their ancestry back to Ukraine, are a large group of people that reside in this country. In the 2000 census, it showed that there are 862,000 Americans of Ukrainian decent living in the United States, most of which reside in the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and California. 
There were three waves of emigrants from Ukraine that moved to the United States.

 The first wave took place in the 1870's and ended in 1914 because Ukrainian territory at that time was divided among a number of neighboring countries. When Ukrainians entered the US, they were not listed as Ukrainian, but as Poles, Slovaks, Hungarians, or Russians. About 500,000 Ukrainians, most from Western Ukraine, entered the US during this time period. Most of these people found work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania or on farms in the Dakota's. This first wave of Ukrainian immigrants established parishes and built churches.

The second wave of Ukrainian immigrants to the US came between the time period of 1920 to 1939. During this time period in Ukrainian history it was once again divided among the countries of Soviet Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. Many Ukrainians sought out refuge from there divided and oppressed country and decided to move abroad. Due to the enactment of US immigration laws, only 40,000 Ukrainians were allowed to immigrate into the US during this time period. The ones that got in settled in large urban areas, such as New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit. This wave shifted the Ukrainian American life from the rural areas to the major cities. 

The third wave of immigrants from Ukraine to the United States took place after Congress passed the Displaced Persons Act in 1948. This piece of legislation permitted hundreds of thousands of refugees from eastern Europe to immigrate into the US. Ukrainians that were fleeing religious and political persecution from USSR arrived in the US and settled in the major cities of the Atlantic seaboard and in the Midwest. 


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