Writings on race and ethnicity in the contemporary United States often use previous historical periods as a point of comparison. This is a natural choice, because there are strong parallels between the era of the "New Immigration" of the last two decades and that of the successive waves of new arrivals that peaked around 1910. The immigrant experiences of white ethnic groups (as portrayed, for example, by Lieberson 1980) serve as a model for understanding the situation of Asian, Latin American, and Afro–Caribbean communities in American cities. This study revisits that early experience, examining the occupational standing of white ethnic groups in the New York metropolis during the period 1880 through 1970. As late as 1835, New York was mainly comprised of the descendants of earlier settlers. Only 10% of the city?s residents (who then totaled 207,000) had been born abroad (Binder and Reimers 1995). The city grew mainly by immigration: of over 5.6 million residents in 1920, nearly 2 million (35%) were immigrants and another 2.3 million (41%) were the second generation, the children of immigrants.