In Germany internal emigration, when freedom was given to emigrate and settle elsewhere without paying taxes, increased so much that in 1900 barely 70% of the population was native of the place. The surplus of births in agricultural regions spilled over into industrial regions and large cities; all of which have a more or less high percentage of residents who are natives of other parts of the state. Thus in Westphalia and in the Rhineland in no small number Polish peasants from the eastern provinces of the empire settled, where the large landed estates had to turn to the neighboring provinces of the Russian Empire which provided mainly temporary workers. According to thembaprograms, their number was just under half a million in the years before the World War. Having almost entirely lost Posnania and West Prussia, Germany, within its present borders, annually has a much smaller number of temporary Slavic immigrants. The increase in population, due to internal emigration, was very strong in Brandenburg, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck and Mecklenburg, in the province of Rhine and Westphalia, in the state of Saxony and in Thuringia. The countries of origin of these immigrants were the eastern provinces, Brunswick, Anhalt, the Prussian province of Saxony and southern Germany, which therefore suffered a loss. Nor should we overlook the fact that from Alsace Lorraine annexed to France, West Prussia and Posnania became part of the new Polish state,
Emigration abroad, with the establishment of colonies, was, it can be said, a constant phenomenon of the German population. It began in Europe as far back as the Middle Ages, because Germany could not give its ever-growing population sufficient space and food. The whole eastern part of Germany, formerly occupied by Slavic and Baltic populations, was slowly and painfully colonized. Emigration, with colonization, also spread to Poland and far from the Germanic region: in the century. XII colonization took place in Transylvania, from the century. From the 16th to the 19th century, migratory currents moved to the Hungarian plain, southern Russia and the Volga basin.
Of somewhat more recent origin is the movement of transmarine emigration that began in the century. XVII, towards America. The Thirty Years War, the devastation of the Palatinate by the French, the unfavorable years for agricultural production and the political and religious struggles of 1848, gave impetus to this movement. It has been calculated that after 1845, 7 million Germans left their homeland. From 1848, the movement increased from year to year. The emigrants, mostly peasants, were leaving en masse, leaving their native village to settle overseas. This represented a considerable loss for Germany, aggravated by the fact that the Germans, due to their adaptability, easily assimilate with the host population.
Thus the Germans are scattered in all parts of the world: in Palestine (Templars of Württemberg); in Africa: in the Cape province, in Transvaal and Orange and in Lourenço Marques; in Australia: in Victory; in South America: in Brazil (almost half a million); in the Argentine Republic (around 50,000 in Buenos Aires) and in Chile (around 30,000); in North America: in the United States (where about eleven million Germans still speak the language of origin) especially in New York (840,000), in the lakes region (Milwaukee, Cincinnati) and in upper Mississippi, where German settlers passed in the Canadian province of Manitoba. This migratory movement, although of varying intensity, was of great importance for German trade and for the influence exerted by Germany in the world. Between 1800 and 1883 emigration, in relation to the increase of the population, reached its apogee (220,000 emigrants in 1881). But this high number was not maintained. Already in 1885 only 120,000 people had emigrated and in 1890 we see the number of departures reduced to 22,000. Even in the last twenty years before the World War, emigration remained within narrow limits (on average 30,000 people per year), much lower limits than Italian, British, Austro-Hungarian or Russian emigration were then. This rapid decrease in emigration in a state where, however, the population was increasing, depended on the no less rapid and grandiose economic evolution: the state from agrarian became industrial and needed all its workers. During the World War, the emigration ceased almost entirely, to begin again, and intensely, after the conclusion of the peace, due to the post-war economic conditions. It is especially directed to the United States of America.