top of page


Immigration is integral to the identity of the United States, which has grown in both population and diversity thanks to new arrivals from around the globe. The Dendrochronology of United States Immigration is a visualization project that uses arboreal metaphors to illustrate the contributions of immigrants to the country's growth. In this project, immigrants and native-born individuals are represented as cells within tree rings, each capturing a decade of population growth.


The project mimics the natural process of dendrochronology, generating tree rings where each ring represents a decade, and each cell corresponds to 100 immigrants from a specific region. The direction and color of each cell reflect the immigrant's geographical origin, with rings skewed toward the East indicating immigration from Europe, and rings skewed to the South signifying more immigration from Latin America. The thickness of the rings shows the volume of immigration, while the color represents different cultural-geographical regions.


Data for this project comes from millions of samples from the U.S. Census, dating back to 1790. This micro-data provides information on the state of residence, age, and country of origin for each person. The project uses this data to estimate the number of immigrants arriving each decade, and it is implemented in Processing, utilizing a physics engine to deposit cells and allow them to interact.


Trees can live for hundreds or even thousands of years, with their rings forming slowly over time. This tree metaphor reflects how history shapes the present, much like how immigration has influenced the United States. Every immigrant leaves a mark on the country's trunk, emphasizing how all cells contribute to the tree's growth, and serving as a reference for how we can spatially organize immigration data.​


Collaborative work with Pedro M. Cruz, John Wihbey, and Avni Ghael (Northeastern University).


2021 · Comunidades Visibles: The Materiality of Migration

           Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, United States

2020 · Seeing Numbers

           Brickbottom Artists Association, Somerville, United States

2019 · Who We Are

           Museum of the City of New York, New York, United States

2019 · III Trans-disciplinary & Trans-national Festival of Art & Science

           University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

2018 · II Trans-disciplinary & Trans-national Festival of Art & Science

           School of Visual Arts, New York, United States

2018 · Naturalizing Immigration

           Northeastern Center for the Arts, Boston, United States

2018 · Mapping Worlds

           Spaceus, Cambridge, United States

2018 · IEEE VIS 2018 Arts Program

           Berlin, Germany

2018 · Presente Futuro. Design Para a Mudança

           Museu do Design e da Moda, Lisbon, Portugal


2021 · Immigrant gnosis: hacer obra en los Estados Unidos


2020 · Mapping immigration flow through tree rings

           Allen Hillery

2018 · A new way of seeing 200 years of American immigration


2018 · This stunning visualization proves America is a nation of immigrants

           Fast Company

2018 · 200 years of U.S. immigration looks like the rings of a tree

           National Geographic

2018 · Process of simulating tree rings for immigration in the U.S.



2018 · Winner gold: Most Beautiful Visualization

           The Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards

2018 · Winner gold: People, Language & Identity

           The Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards

bottom of page