If you walk down the streets in the United States, the odds are that one in every four people you’ll see is an immigrant, or was born to immigrant parents.
While those odds might seem high, the truth is nearly everyone in the U.S. hails from someplace else if you look far back enough.
Visualizing U.S. Immigration
Today’s intriguing visualization was created by professors Pedro M. Cruz and John Wihbey from Northeastern University, and it depicts U.S. immigration from 1830 until 2015, as rings in a growing tree trunk.
The researchers turned registered U.S. Census data into an estimate for the total number of immigrants arriving each decade, and then the yearly figures in the visualization. One caveat is that it does not account for the populations of slaves, or indigenous communities.
From the Old to the New World
The pattern of U.S. immigration can be explained in four major waves overall:
The origins of U.S. immigrant populations transform from era to era. Which events influenced each wave?
Frontier Expansion: 1830-1880
- Cheap farmland and the promise of economic growth in the first Industrial Revolution spurred large-scale immigration from Britain, Germany, and other parts of Central Europe.
- The Irish Potato Famine from 1845 to 1849 drove many immigrants from Ireland over to the U.S.
- The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe ended the Mexican-American war, and extended U.S. citizenship to over 70,000 Mexican residents.
- Immigrant mobility increased with the introduction of large steam-powered ships. The expansion of railroads in Europe also made it easier for people to reach oceanic ports.
- On the other hand, the Chinese Exclusion act in 1882 prohibited Chinese laborers from entry.
- In 1892, the famous Ellis Island opened; the first federal immigration station provided a gateway for over 12 million people.
The Great Pause: 1915-1965
- The Immigration Act of 1924 enacted quotas on immigrant numbers, restricting groups from countries in Southern and Eastern Europe, and virtually all immigrants of Asian origin.
- The Great Depression, and subsequent World Wars also complicated immigration matters as many came to seek refuge in the United States.
Post-1965 Immigration: 1965-Present
- The Hart-Cellber (Immigration and Naturalization Act) of 1965 overturned all previous quotas based on national origin. Family unification and an increase in skilled labor were two major aims of this act.
- This decision significantly impacted the U.S. demographic makeup in the following decades, as more immigrants of Latin, Asian, and African descent entered the country.
E Pluribus Unum (From Many, One)
While others have mapped two centuries of immigration before, few have captured its sheer scale and impact quite as strikingly. The researchers explain their reasoning behind this metaphor of tree rings:
This idea lends itself to the representation of history itself, as it shows a sequence of events that have left a mark and shaped the present. If cells leave a mark in the tree, so can incoming immigrants be seen as natural contributors to the growth of a trunk that is the United States.
It’s no wonder that this animation showing U.S. immigration won Gold for the “People, Language, and Identity” and “Most Beautiful” categories at the 2018 Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards.
Ranked: Share of Global Arms Exports in 2022
The U.S. is the biggest weapons exporter in the world, but which other countries take up a significant share of global arms exports in 2022? And how has that share changed over time?
Ranked: Share of Global Arms Exports 2018–2022
In 2022, global military budgets hit $2.2 trillion, an eighth consecutive year of increase.
Part of those budgets were used for the procurement of arms, but which countries are major weapons suppliers, and how do they influence the global arms trade?
We chart out the top 10 countries with the biggest share of global arms exports using data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Which Country Exports the Most Weapons?
The U.S. is the biggest weapons exporter, accounting for 40% of the total volume of international arms transfers between 2018–2022. Nearly one-fifth of these exports headed to Saudi Arabia, and other significant amounts went to Japan (8.6%) and Australia (8.4%).
Below we rank the biggest weapons exporters by share of total volume traded in 2018–2022, as well as their growth or decline from trends recorded in 2013–2017.
|Rank||Country||% share of global arms exports|
|% change between
2013-17 & 2018-22
|9||🇰🇷 South Korea||2%||+74%|
|N/A||🌐 Rest of World||9%||N/A|
Russia (16%) and France (11%) rank close together, followed by China (5%) and Germany (4%) to round out the top five major arms exporters.
However France’s export volumes grown considerably (+44%) from the previous five-year period, thanks to big sales to India, which included 62 combat aircraft and four submarines, one-third of all French weapons trade. This has resulted in France leapfrogging the U.S. as India’s second-largest weapons supplier after Russia.
On the other hand, Russia’s exports by volume has decreased (-31%) even before sanctions kicked in after the invasion of Ukraine. Its biggest trade partners, India and China, have prioritized developing their own weapons industries.
South Korea’s Surging Weapons Exports
Another country whose arms sales are skyrocketing is South Korea, which ranks 9th in the overall share of global arms exports, but has seen a 74% increase in its export volumes. Key recipients include the Philippines, India, and Thailand.
South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol has pledged to grow his country into the world’s fourth largest arms exporter by 2027.
Interestingly, South Korea is one of three countries which is both a top-10 arms exporter and importer (along with China and the U.S.) as it has many takers for domestically produced military equipment, while simultaneously being reliant on American-produced long-range missiles and advanced combat aircraft.
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