Hamilton wrote that manufacturing in Paterson would provide economic opportunities for immigrants who would make America stronger. Born on an island in the Caribbean, Hamilton himself was a penniless immigrant when he first came to America. Paterson is a place where immigrants from Hamilton onward have generated new economic opportunities in different eras and changing economic conditions.
At the end of the 18th century, Alexander Hamilton announced to a new nation and the world that Paterson welcomed industrial entrepreneurship that would expand opportunities for people of all incomes, races, religions, and nationalities. Immigrants moved to Paterson from England, Holland, Ireland, Italy, France, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and Syria, among other nations. Later immigrants came from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco.
In the 21st century, more than half of Paterson’s population is Hispanic. In fact, there are so many Peruvians in the city that Peru opened a Consulate in Paterson. Paterson now welcomes immigrants and low-income families to Paterson’s urban mosaic of ethnic neighborhoods and cultures.
Paterson now has approximately 150,000 residents. More than half are Hispanic, almost 30% are African American, and over 10% are Arab American.