The population of American cities grew rapidly because of
the new industries. In the cities, streets were paved and
sewers and water systems were developed. Boston built the
nation's first subway in 1897. The invention of the skyscraper
was made possible by the invention of the elevator and the
development of cheaper steel.
The New Immigrants
Many of the new immigrants during the time of the industrial
revolution came from Southern and Eastern Europe and lived
in cities where jobs were plentiful. The new immigrants lived in
overcrowded, unsafe tenements where diseases spread
rapidly. Housing became a big problem. In 1871 in Chicago, a
fire destroyed a third of the city, killed hundreds, and left
100,000 people homeless.
Helping the Immigrants
Most of the immigrants who arrived in the United States
were poor and did not speak English. In 1889, Jane Addams
started the nation's first community center, or settlement
house, for the poor in Chicago. It provided services such as
child care, education, and language lessons for immigrants.
Many Americans wanted to stop immigrants from entering the
United States. Laws limited European immigration in 1924 and
eliminated Chinese immigration outright until 1943.