During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Polish immigration skyrocketed in the United States due to imperial repression, chronic unemployment, and land shortages in Poland. Poles did not just immigrate as individuals; they traveled to America as a family strategy in order to improve their social and economic status to provide resources for their families. Most Polish immigrants flocked to industrial cities to work in factories, steel mills, slaughterhouses, and foundries. Chicago became the primary destination for most Polish immigrants, with an estimated population of 400,000 Polish immigrants by 1920. Exact numbers of Polish immigrants in the United States are unknown, but the 1910 census found over 900,000 new immigrants who spoke Polish. Although immigration began to slow after World War I when Poland gained its independence, it is estimated that over two million Polish immigrants came to the United States by 1920.
“The Nation of Polonia.” Library of Congress. Accessed October 14, 2018, https://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/