Immigrant occupations in Boulder

[NOTE: Charts below have the correct format and data but prettier versions will be uploaded later]

(Contributor: Gavin Kerr)

Here, we have three charts based on data from the 1920 census for Boulder County that can give us a peek at how most immigrants worked. The data shown here has been culled to show those major national groups’ main occupations here in Boulder to give a clearer image of what life was like back then.

Figure 1. Breakdown of occupational categories within top immigrant groups

Figure 1 shows the percentage of workers in major occupations based on their birthplace. Even though there are many reasons outside of nationality that dictate one’s profession, there are some clear patterns by national origin here.

For most groups, the top occupation is either farming or mining, which were indeed the two top occupational categories in Boulder County in 1920 overall. But the balance varies: for example, immigrants from Greece almost never engaged in farming, while few immigrants from Russia had jobs in mining. The latter may be explained by XXX – Volga Germans, sugar beet farming

We can also look at immigrants and occupational categories in a slightly different way, this time focusing on the number of immigrants from different backgrounds in each major occupational category.


Occupations by countryOccupations by country excluding farmers and miners

Figure 2. Number of immigrants in each major occupational category

Figure 3. Number of immigrants in each major occupational category, excluding farmers and miners

These two graphs (Figure 2 and Figure 3) show the actual count of immigrant workers in each occupational category. Figure 3 excludes miners and farm owners so that more detail can be shown about the other 5 major industries in Boulder.

These graphs also show how much Boulder County was dominated by agriculture and especially mining at the turn of the 20th century. Almost as many people were miners as worked in all other major occupations combined.

Figures 2 and 3 also put some of the percentages from Figure 1 into perspective. For instance, there was a higher percentage of German immigrants than English immigrants that were farmers, but there was a higher number of English farmers in total.