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John Children and FamilyAmericans in Alberta are immigrants in a different sense. Americans are one of the oldest groups to come to Canada and are also one of the first groups to immigrate to Alberta. The proximity of the United States to Canada and similarities in culture and language fostered migration between the two countries. However, not all Americans have found immigration to Canada easy. During the 1890s and early 1900s, Canada emphasized the desirability of skilled property owners, while discouraging others, such as American Blacks and the urban poor.

Prior to World War I, most American immigrants worked in agriculture and arrived seeking homesteads in Alberta at that time. American immigrants were largely dry land farmers from the United States mid-west. Therefore, settlement in arid southern Alberta was to the benefit of the province. By the end of the Second World War, however, there was a decline in the immigration of farmers, due to the successive droughts that parched the land through the 1930s.

During the 1940s and 1950s, another group of American immigrants came to Alberta. Although they were fewer in number than other immigrant groups, they made significant contributions to the boom in the oil and gas industry. These American immigrants helped to build the oil and gas companies through the 20th century which still flourish in Alberta today. After World War II, during the early 1960s, the majority of Americans who came to Canada were professionals and skilled workers.

Another significant group of American immigrants arrived in the years between 1965 and 1975. Canada was experiencing a shortage of professors to staff university faculties. Many American immigrants came to Canada to take up these positions.  Although some eventually moved back to the United States, there were also many that chose to stay. 

Since the Second World War, American immigrants have been notable in the amount of wealth they have brought to Canada. Generally, Americans immigrating to Canada arrive with social and economic means greater than many other immigrant groups.  They are able to adjust to Canada with the money and skills they bring with them. More than any other group, Americans spread throughout Canada rather than congregating in any central location or larger urban area.

Like Canada, America is pluralistic with many different groups coming from many different social and economic backgrounds. The diversity of American society makes it difficult to generalize about trends in immigration. Some cultural groups, like Black Americans and some of the economically disadvantaged groups will have a more difficult time in facing obstacles such as discrimination and lack of economic opportunity.
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