The Bernese Emigration to the United States, 1870–1930: A Quantitative Analysis of Economic Factors

Simon Geissbühler
1999 Migracijske i Etniĉke Teme  
The United States was the most important destination for emigrants from the Swiss canton of Bern during the period of mass emigration in the late 19th and the early 20th century. The present article looks at the economic factors leading to this mass emigration. Using bivariate correlations, this study demonstrates that quantitative analysis is a powerful tool in historical emigration research. The data underlines the two following theses. First, the better the economy in Bern, the lower the
more » ... of emigration to the United States. Secondly, the better the economy in the United States, the higher the rate of emigration from Bern. Hence, both pull and push factors played an important role determining emigration from Bern to the United States. The most closely related to the rate of emigration were the independent variables emigration to the USA in year t-1, the investments in structural engineering in Bern, railroad construction in the USA and the number of Bernese on welfare. The results clearly show that Bernese emigration was primarily a socio-economic mass movement.
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