After meeting with the prime minister of Norway, President Donald Trump went into his immigration meeting in the United States. He was pitched a bipartisan immigration reform bill, but had a few complaints, one of them being the headlining “s***hole” comment referring to Africa and Haiti, but his comment afterwords is worth noting. He pondered aloud, “Why don’t we have immigrants from countries like Norway?” Well, let’s take a quick blast to the past to find out why.
Norwegians used to be coming to the United States in droves. From 1825 to 1925, 800,000 Norwegians settled in the U.S., mostly in the Midwest region. Norwegians were comparable to numbers with the Irish, who were experiencing extreme poverty and famine in their country, which goes to show how many people were turning up. However, this balloon shrunk dramatically in no time. Across this period, about 70 percent of these people ended up back in Norway in a matter of years, with experts citing poverty, unemployment, and assimilation issues as main factors, with the 1924 Immigration Act limiting their numbers as well.
Fast forward to World War II, when veterans return with their Norwegian wives as they come home to settle after the war. Immigration jumps once again, but, as always, not for long. Norway has rode an oil boom in the 1960’s for the past fifty years, boasting a larger per capita GDP than the U.S. by a staggering $15,000. Norwegians have a higher life expectancy than U.S. born citizens, place much higher on happiness tests, and boast more positive views of their government than the U.S. Their positivity and more healthy lifestyles throughout are certainly key to their country’s success.
So why aren’t Norwegians, and, really, the entirety of Western Europe, coming to America. Well, it seems as if they found out that grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Norway used to be sending people by the thousands to the United States, but they quickly realized that they received better treatment and had a better quality of life back home. So, they returned. It’s as simple as that. It seems as if a better question might have been,
“Why would they?”