The New Irish Immigrant
Ireland has been sending their people to the United States in large amounts since the inception of the United States as a nation in the 18th century. The marks are all over the nation; the oldest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the United States and the most popular in the world is in New York City. Twenty-two U.S. presidents hold some Irish ancestry (albeit most of it Scots-Irish Protestant) and Irish people have made significant contributions in the realms of politics, law enforcement, and business. But what isn’t often talked about is who and why they’re here
In a previous story, I began to touch on this subject, but didn’t go into as much detail as I was conducting initial research. After reading through a great research paper from University College Cork, titled Irish Emigration in Age of Austerity, along with some information from the United States Census Bureau, the picture of who the 21st century Irish emigrant is has become quite a bit clearer.
In this nifty map I’ve created with a great little program called Social Explorer, you can visualize the percentages of Irish immigrants in each state of the union as a percentage of the whole immigrant population.
In pure numbers, they tend to stick to the Northeastern United States. Established communities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia are strongholds of Irish immigration to this day. A major factor here is the existence of a support system of other Irish immigrants and Irish-Americans. There are newspapers, (like the Irish Echo), arts centers (like the New York Irish Center in Queens, NY) and immigration support services (like the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in New York City) that make cities more appealing. In addition, the ability to get a job increases with the networking opportunities that are abound.
But while Irish immigration is historically held to have existed and is often a point of pride for many Irish-Americans, current immigration can be glossed over. The Central Statistics Office, Ireland, reports that between 2010–13, between 5–10% of all Irish immigrants moved to the United States, and the Republic of Ireland is again reporting a net loss in population.
Despite the fact that Irish-Americans tend to be rooted in their history, Irish emigration to the states is very much a modern phenomenon as well, and deserves to be held in the same esteem and respect as that from years past.