While immigration and migration patterns fluctuated during the twentieth century, the influx of newcomers continued to contribute to population diversity in the region. Even as the overall growth rate dropped from its peak in the 1880s, the population of the Chicago metropolitan area (city and suburbs) increased throughout the century, exceeding five million people by 2000. (See "Map: Changing Origins of Metropolitan Chicago's Foreign-Born Population" in left-hand table of contents for additional information about twentieth-century migration patterns.)
In 1890 Duane Doty prepared an itemized accounting of the nearly 6,000 Pullman Inc. employees living or working in the town of Pullman. Doty, who was Pullman town manager, organized the data by the "industry" in which employees worked (e.g. Pullman Car Works, Pullman Foundry, Standard Knitting Mills, Town of Pullman) and by their place of birth and ethnicity. His comments regarding workers' ethnicity--particularly Irish-born employees as "[n]ever a desirable element"--reveal common bigotries and racial stereotypes.
Before widespread automobile ownership, migration from the South generally followed water and rail routes. Chicago's popularity as a destination rested in part on the breadth of the Illinois Central Railroad network. By the time World War I opened employment opportunities for African Americans in northern cities, the Illinois Central and its feeder lines had penetrated many of the plantation regions where black population was most concentrated. Other railroad lines also offered access to Chicago from these and other parts of the South. Until 1916, black Chicagoans were likely to have roots in the upper South. Beginning in 1916, Chicago drew its African American population from the Deep South, especially Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and western Georgia.
According to her Finnish passport, Nanni Helena Korolainen was 17 years old when she moved from Finland to Chicago in 1921. Looking through the pages of her passport, we can learn that she was unmarried, the daughter of a farmer, and before coming to the United States had lived near Kuopio, Finland. Despite her young age, she may have made the journey to Chicago on her own. As of 1910, nearly one-third of recent Finnish immigrants to Chicago were single women.
Polish immigrants Walter and Mary Zielinksi (second and third from right) opened Walter's Tavern in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Their tavern was one of the few establishments in the area that served African Americans and whites together.
In 1973, India Sari Palace was the first Indian store to open along Devon Avenue (2500 block) on the far northwest side of Chicago. The shop was part of an international business, with a parent company in Hong Kong and branches in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Jackson Heights, New York. By the 1980s, several sari shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and video stores had spread out along Devon in the area then known as "Indiatown."