In this century, nativity and parentage data have been available for the total population from the 1900 and 1960 Censuses only; for intervening censuses, tabulations were made for only the white population. In order to permit historical comparisons, a number of tables in this report are shown for both the total and the white population.
Historically most of the immigrants to the United States were from European countries, and, therefore, only a small proportion of the immigrants were non-white. With the decline in immigration this situation has been changing, as is reflected in the increasing proportion of nonwhites in the foreign-born population (table C).
Table C. Foreign-Born Population, Total and Nonwhite, For Conterminous United States: 1900 To 1960
Besides the inclusion of the foreign nonwhite stock, there are other inconsistencies between 1960 and earlier censuses. The general method of processing the returns for country of origin was the same for the 1950 and 1960 Censuses; however, a slight variation was introduced in the handling of entries of Austria-Hungary. In 1950, the technique of assigning a specific country for entries of Austria-Hungary depended on the surname. In 1960, a question on mother tongue was asked of all foreign-born persons and the allocation to a specific country was made on the basis of the language reported. For example, persons reporting Rumanian were classified as born in Rumania. For blanks on mother tongue, a system was devised to allocate the entries of Austria-Hungary in the coding operation on the basis of the distribution of nationalities of migrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire as reported in the 1920 Census report, Volume II, Population. It appears that, as a result of these revisions in the coding procedures, the apparent understatement in the number of persons of Yugoslavian origin, which was evident in the data for 1950, does not exist in the published 1960 statistics. The change in the method of processing entries of Austria-Hungary combined with the improvements resulting from self- enumeration may have been responsible for the better coverage. (For additional information on these data see the text in Volume I, Characteristics of the Population
, Part 1, United States Summary
The distinction between Canada-French and Canada- Other was not maintained in the collection and publication of 1960 data on country of origin. Data for 1960 for persons of Canadian origin are comparable with the sum of the categories Canada-Other and Canada-French from earlier censuses.
Prior to 1950, questions on citizenship and mother tongue were used, when feasible, to assign entries on nativity and country of origin where these entries were omitted or uncodable. In the 1950 Census the question on mother tongue was excluded; in 1960, this question was asked of the foreign born, but citizenship was not asked. Data for 1960 on mother tongue are to be presented in the forthcoming report PC(2)-1E, Mother Tongue