Emigration to the USA

Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Snippets of Yesteryear

Emigration to the USA

Emigration to the USAThis 1950’s advertisement was posted very regularly in the Press. Offering a Second Class Passage to New York for £28. 10? – About £850 in today’s money, but of course a much higher percentage of a family wage compared to today.

We all have some relatives who have emigrated to Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand over the years, and most have improved their lifestyle. However, from my experience with Ex-Pats, they all have a lingering for home, what is it they say?. “You can take the man out of Logan Street, but you can’t take Logan Street out of the man.”

Emigration from Scotland

In 19th-century Scotland, emigration was the result of both force and persuasion. Until about 1855, a number of the emigrants from the Highlands were actually forced to leave the land because of evictions. In the Lowlands, the decision to move abroad was nearly always the outcome of the desire to improve one’s living standards. Whatever the reason, Scotland lost between 10% and 47% of the natural population increase every decade.

The scale of the loss was only greater in two other European countries: Ireland and Norway. However, even these countries were dwarfed by emigration from Scotland in the years 1904–1913, and again in 1921–1930, when those leaving (550,000) actually exceeded the entire natural increase and constituted one-fifth of the total working population.

The decision to emigrate from this part of Scotland was purely voluntary. Indeed, emigration was seen by trades unions and other voluntary groups as a practical solution to unemployment and economic depression.

By the 20th century, the skilled worker was the largest category of all those social groups who emigrated from Scotland. Indeed, in 1912 and 1913, 47% of adult male emigrants from Scotland described themselves as skilled, compared with 36% of those from England and Wales. Only 29% classed themselves as labourers.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s the principal aim of the emigrants was to find work and wages and escape mass unemployment at home. This mostly affected the age group 16–29, skilled rather than unskilled workers and men rather than women.

Although most of the emigrants were able to make a better life for themselves and their families abroad, the impact on Scotland has been less favourable.

Many of the most productive and talented Scots have left their birthplace to enrich, both economically and culturally, other countries at the expense of their own.

Source: educationscotland.gov.uk

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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