Kentucky’s Foreign-Born Population, 1900


Kentucky’s Foreign-Born Population, 1900


At the conclusion of the 1896 presidential election, William McKinley (R) had defeated William J Bryan (D). Some felt that it was the “foreign-born votes” that had given McKinley a major advantage. Attached to this post is a paragraph from the full article printed in the January 1897 issue of the Bee newspaper in Earlington, KY. According to the article, votes from Kentucky were 218,171 for McKinley and 217,890 for Bryan. Of those Kentucky votes, it was said that 29,816 foreign born persons had voted for McKinley only. Three years later, there was much interest in the 1900 Census of the United States population. For Kentucky, 50,249 or 2.3% of the total state population was noted as “foreign born.” The term, as used by the Census Office, did not include those who were born in an African country and had been enslaved in the United States. Below are the continents and countries of origins for those enumerated in Kentucky as having been born outside the U. S. when the 1900 Census was completed:

Africa-24, Asia-160, Atlantic Islands-4, Australia-57, Austria-475, Belgium-77, Bohemia-52, Canada (English)-1,072, Canada (French)-136, Central America-56, China-46, Cuba-15, Denmark-77, England-3,256, Europe-82, Finland-6, France-983, Germany-27,555, Greece-24, Holland-136, Hungary-146, India-10, Ireland-9,874, Italy-679, Japan-3, Luxemburg-4, Mexico-19, Norway-34, Pacific Islands-2, Poland (Austrian)-16, Poland (German)-80, Poland (Russian)-582, Poland (unknown)-40, Portugal-1, Roumania-22, Russia-1,076, Scotland-793, South America-7, Spain-21, Sweden-222, Switzerland-1,929, Turkey-17, Wales-337, West Indies-13*, Other Countries-16, Born at Sea-63. *Except Cuba and Porto Rico


Bee Publishing Company




1. “Food for thought. Amazing facts about the recent election. Lessons in figures. What the state official footings reveal.” Bee (Earlington, KY), 1897-01-21, front page.
2. Map of the foreign-born population of the United States, 1900: a spotlight on a primary source by Henry Gannett @ The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
3. 1900 Census: Volume I. Population, Part I. Table 33: Foreign born population, distributed according to country of birth, by states and territories: 1900, pp.732-735


Reinette Jones, University of Kentucky Librarian & African American Studies Academic Liaison


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“Kentucky’s Foreign-Born Population, 1900,” Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program Exhibits, accessed March 25, 2023,

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