Influence of Immigration on Society. A comparison of St. Louis and Wuppertal

Pre-University Paper, 2011

22 Pages, Grade: 1,0



Table of contents

1. Introduction
1.1 The reason why I chose this topic
1.2 Historical perspective
1.2.1. Relating to America
1.3 Composition of population in St. Louis today
1.2.2. Relating to Germany
1.4 Composition of population in Wuppertal today

2. Influence of immigration on society
2.1 Education in St. Louis
2.2 Labor market in St. Louis
2.3 Promotion in St. Louis
2.4 Education in Wuppertal
2.5 Labor market in Wuppertal
2.6 Promotion in Wuppertal

3. Final comparison St. Louis - Wuppertal

4. Conclusion

5. Appendix

6. List of references
6.1 Literature
6.2 Websites
6.3 Other sources

1. Introduction

1.1 The reason why I chose this topic

My decision for choosing the topic lies in the general interest for the immigration theme.

Moreover, the issue of immigration is a big issue everywhere, be it in politics or elsewhere. In the summer of 2010 for example, a man named Thilo Sarrazin[1] created a discussion about the growing lower class and the immigration from predominantly Muslim countries. One main thesis by Thilo Sarrazin was that the immigrants refuse to blend in.

I was wondering whether this also relates to me because it is a fact that I am an immigrant from Estonia living in Germany even if I do not look like it and hardly anybody notices it. Some of my friends are just like me; they also moved to Germany or have roots from other cultures.

I became interested in this theme, because I am in a relationship with a boy who has Turkish roots. Many people have asked if it works with two cultures and what our parents think about it.

There are many prejudices against immigrants and I will try to find out whether they are justified or not. I won’t only refer to Germany in this task but also to another country to compare, for example the United States of America. In the US there are so many discussions about the Latinos, as there are in Germany about the Turks.

Furthermore I hope this research paper will be a chance for me to enlarge my knowledge.

1.2 Historical perspective

1.2.1. Relating to America

Actually America only consists of immigrants because the real America was native Indian society, whose culture, for the most part no longer exists. The people who live in America now are called “Americans” and they are an ethnic group of Western Europeans. They form a community where they have assimilated in this community. The Afro-Americans, who came later in the USA, were hardly integrated due to the fact that they were immigrated as slaves. The second big wave of immigration, which came after the Afro-Americans, were the Latinos.

To compare Wuppertal with another city in the USA, I’ve chosen St. Louis, because both cities have more or less the same number of inhabitants, namely 350.000. In the area of today’s St. Louis, there was already from the 7th century a settlement known as Cahokia. In the 12th Century, the city reached a population up to 40,000 people. For this reason Cahokia was the largest ever constructed town north of modern-day Mexico. In 1400 the city was abandoned for unknown reasons by its residents. When the first Europeans arrived to the area in the 17th Century, they discovered the places of settlement left. [2]

A Frenchman founded St. Louis in 1764. Since 1803 St. Louis has belonged to America, before that time it belonged to France. 1800 to 1850, St. Louis was a gateway for trade in the West and St. Louis was one of the main ports for the steam navigation on the Mississippi. From about 1860 an industrial development began which was accompanied by a big wave of German immigrants. This wave of immigrants has had an impact on the direction and growth of the city. They have influenced politics and industrial growth. Most Germans came looking for land to escape crowding. In that time, about one-third of the population was of German origin. In 1950 St. Louis had the most inhabitants with a total of about 850 000 people. In the following years, many inhabitants moved, especially whites, to the surrounding areas out of the city. The city decayed and was increasingly inhabited only by people with low incomes. Since 1990, the city tries to reverse this trend. There has also been immigration to the town since 1960, but mainly they were refugees who had to leave their homes for political or economic reasons, foremost people from Southeast Asia, and those who came from Latin America.[3]

1.3 Composition of population in St. Louis today

Today there is a population of about 51% of Afro-Americans; the other 49% are whites.

Approximately 2% of the population comes from Asia and 3% are Hispanic / Latino.

Other population groups are for example Native Indians, Natives from other U.S. states (Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico) and groups with two or more nationalities. But all of these groups represent only a fraction of nearly 4%.

Estimates of the “U.S. Census Bureau” have shown that English is not spoken in about 8.6% of the households.[4]

1.2.2. Relating to Germany

In Germany, there has always been a white based population and in the past, people emigrated from Germany because of overcrowding. Today a large number of these people have come back to Germany. But many people have come to Germany for working reasons, because at that time Germany has had a good economic situation. After the Second World War, the area of Prussia was turned over to Poland, so today there are many people in Germany with Polish origin. The second biggest wave of immigration is the Turkish population. They have come to Germany as foreign workers and have brought their whole families for the most part.

In 1930, Wuppertal consisted of individual districts. During this time Wuppertal was famous for textiles and coloring. As far back as the 17 Century the textile and coloring industry were responsible for furthering the development in “Elberfeld” and “Barmen”. During the 18 Century steam engines and weaving looms made in England were taken over for quicker production.[5] The second industrial development boost arose through the expansion of new and larger enterprises, which are still operational today. Among these are, “Bayer” (1863), “Barmer Ersatzkasse” and “Glanzstoff”. Since 1960, Wuppertal has been looking for foreign workers to fill jobs. In the 60’s many Italians, Spaniards, Greeks and Turks immigrated because of work.

1.4 Composition of population in Wuppertal today

In Germany, citizens or inhabitants are allowed to have two nationalities. When we look at the first nationality of Wuppertal there are approximately 303 000 Germans and 47 000 immigrants, among them, the Turks, with a population of 12 440 people represent the largest group. The evaluation of the second nationality shows that in addition to the first German nationality, more than 12 000 people represent the Polish nationality and about 5 000 people represent the Turkish nationality. Considering the country of birth in addition to the nationalities it leads to the following result: From a total of 350,000 inhabitants, there are 20 000 from Turkey, this is just 6%. 16 000 immigrants are from Poland and the third largest group is Italy with 8 000 immigrants.[6]

2. Influence of immigration on society

2.1 Education in St. Louis

Once again a brief glimpse into the history: In 1880 some 46% of public school children were German and subsequently 20 000 of the young scholars still received their lessons in German every day. During this time the Germans founded among other things gymnastics clubs, known as “Turnvereine” as meeting places. These organizations joined forces in the 1880s to successfully push St. Louis Public Schools to introduce physical education into its curriculum.[7]

Today the School District of St. Louis is led by three directors. They are responsible for the education of the public schools for the education of 5-21 years-old students. The system is divided into "Primary Schools"(1st-4th grade), "Middle Schools"(5th-8th grade) and "High Schools“(9th-12th grade).

There are 56 Primary schools, 21 Middle schools and 13 High schools in St. Louis.[8]

The schools are usually attended in their residential area. The high proportion of Afro-Americans in some urban areas leads to a much higher proportion of Afro-American in the schools, than the city average. Afro-Americans are affected by poverty to a much greater extent than other groups.

The census of population of 2000 revealed the following indicators:

In the neighborhood of poor Asian children, 26.4% of adults have a bachelor's degree,

in the neighborhood of poor white children, 18.6% of adults have a bachelor's degree,

in the neighborhood of poor Hispanic children, 17.2% of adults have a bachelor's degree,

in the neighborhood of poor black children, 12.5% of adults have a bachelor's degree.[9]

So you can say that the educational level of the particular population groups is varies greatly.

For further education in St. Louis or the surrounding area there are several universities, there is a total of eleven universities. St. Louis University, founded in 1818, is the oldest university west of the Mississippi River.

Without immigration, the following universities for example, would never have been created: The Fontbonne University, founded in 1923 with French roots, is Catholic.

Harris-Stowe State University has an open mind about the diversity of immigrants. The Webster University was also a Catholic foundation and was designed to promote the education of women.

2.2 Labor market in St. Louis

The labor market in St. Louis itself and the adjacent area is one of the most diversified in the USA. There are important manufacturers in the area of chemical - and of metal processing industry, large beer brewers and food manufacturers. There are still jobs in the transport and finance sector, in the public sector as well as the self-employment. Before the recent economic crisis, the unemployment rate in St. Louis and the surrounding area lay just under 5%. [10]

The economic crisis in 2007 in the U.S. (data from St. Louis are not available) led to a doubling in the unemployment rates of 6.7 million in March 2007 to 14.8 million in January 2010, [11] including this economic crisis St. Louis also had to suffer. Although, the economy strengthened at the same time, the requirements for job qualifications increased for the seeking work.[12] When positions are available, only about 45% of job seekers meet the requirements. Many lack for example: Computer skills (7.6%), math basic skills (8.5%), writing skills (11.8%), willingness to learn (14.9%), technical skills based on the job (18.9%) and the largest group , consists of people with little knowledge of commercial or industrial processes (25.4%).[13] There are no direct numbers, such as the breakdown of the figures for the labor market to the population groups. I can only guess just by the numbers of those affected by poverty in the particularly population groups. Although over 50% of the population is black, only 16.2% of companies are owned by blacks.

Data on poverty: Almost 65 000 of the Afro-Americans in St. Louis are poor, whereas only about 24 000 of the white population. Expressed as a percentage, this means that 39% of the black population has an income below of the poverty line, whereas this is true to only 15% of whites.

2.3 Promotion in St. Louis

In addition to the St. Louis Public Schools exists the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation. It is an independent organization founded in 1998 to promote educational success for the St. Louis Public Schools. The Foundation is a not- profit organization.


[1] Thilo Sarrazin Thilo Sarrazin (born 12th February 1945) is a German politician (SPD) and former member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank (until 30th September 2010, vgl.

[2] (vgl.

[3] (vgl. 2011 World Book St. Louis)

[4] (vgl.

[5] (vgl. Birgit Schultz, Das Große Buch Über Wuppertal, Vom Weben, Schweben und Leben, Edition Limosa, Deutschland 2010, S.8f.)

[6] Statistikstelle der Stadt Wuppertal

[7] (vgl.

[8] (vgl.

[9] (vgl.

[10] (vgl. 2011 World Book St. Louis)

[11] See diagram 4 in appendix

[12] See diagram 5 in appendix

[13] See diagram 6 in appendix

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Influence of Immigration on Society. A comparison of St. Louis and Wuppertal
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Influence of immigration on society, Education, Labor market, promotion, comparison, cities
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Anonymous, 2011, Influence of Immigration on Society. A comparison of St. Louis and Wuppertal, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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