There were numerous factors driving foreigners to immigrate to America during the early 20th century, and whether they were economic, political, or social, they were crucial in influencing the demographics of those coming over. As was often the case in Europe, many incoming peoples were escaping wars in their home countries. Avoiding conscription, fighting, and whatever other plights befell them, immigrants would leave for America with the hope that the fighting would not follow them to their new home.
There were also those who worked and lived in Europe but turned to America when there was an outcry for skilled miners to operate new mines. The rapid expansion of the west and the development of mines to accompany this expansion led to the dire need of a workforce, and immigrant labor often constituted that work force.
It is important to note that of those who were interviewed for the Carbon County oral history project, there are both those who were born in-state as first generation Americans and those who immigrated to the United States during their early childhood. Those who were born elsewhere often found themselves growing up with the values and communities of their home country while being in America. With large, extended families, many immigrants were sent stateside to meet up with relatives who had already made the journey from Europe or wherever else to live and work in the United States. Being such an immense commitment, sometimes only parts of families would make the journey over while some stayed behind and remained in their home countries. Now, a few generations down the line, there are families that are split between countries as a result of this wave of immigration to work in western mines.