American Religion & Optimism: 200 Years of Immigration

Curated by CLAI

AMERICAN RELIGION AND OPTIMISM: Americans’ emphasis on individualism and work ethic stands out in surveys of people around the world. 57% of Americans disagreed with: “success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control” – far above the global median of 38%.

Wealthier nations tend to be less religious, but USA is a prominent exception. More than half (54%) of Americans said religion was very important in their lives, much higher than Canada (24%), Australia (21%) and Germany (21%), the next three wealthiest economies surveyed. 53% say belief in God is a prerequisite for being moral and having good values, much higher than the 23% in Australia and 15% in France.

U.S. more likely to say "today is a good day" than other rich countries

U.S. more likely to say “today is a good day” than other rich countries (Pew Research Center)

200 YEARS OF US IMMIGRATION: Mass immigration has been sparked by tragic events.

  • The first influx of Irish occurred during the potato famine in 1845.
  • Russians in the first decade of the 20th Century was driven by anti-Semitic violence of the Russian pogroms (riots).
  • In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, army conscription and the forced assimilation of minority groups drove people to the U.S. in the early 1900s.

Since WWII, Central and South America and Asia have replaced Europe as the largest source of immigrants to the U.S. Immigration shrunk to almost nothing as restrictions tightened during WWII, and then gradually expanded to reach its largest extent ever in the first decade of the 21st Century.

200 Years of Immigration in the USA

200 Years of Immigration in the USA (Insightful Interaction)

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