Whether you consider yourself well-versed in Irish American history, there are always some new things to know. So, here are six facts about the Irish-American community that you didn’t know about.
1. Most Of Irish-Americans have never been to Ireland
The Irish-American population is estimated at 34.5 million, making it the second-largest ethnic group in the United States. With so many people of Irish ancestry in America, you’d think that most have been to Ireland or are planning on going. But only 35% have ever visited Ireland because for decades America was the place to go, not Dublin, people were coming there, not traveling back. The Irish-American pride we see today didn’t start until the 1990s, and now we’re seeing a modern age of Irish Americans who want to visit their roots. It’s not the same as it used to be, but there still remains a sense of global pride in the Irish-American community.
2. The Irish were once considered non-white
From 1924 to 1965, the United States government restricted non-white immigrants. But before this act was passed, the Irish were considered non-white and had trouble gaining access into America because of their appearance. This graphic shows how much hatred there was towards the Irish during that time. They still managed to make a name for themselves in America. Just as the number of people who have been to Ireland is growing, so is the Irish-American population. It’s estimated that by 2030, the community will grow to 41 million people. It also shows that the majority of Irish Americans live in the Northeast and South, with New York and Massachusetts claiming many.
3. Irish Americans don’t necessarily speak with an accent
Many people think that Irish Americans have a noticeable accent, but the truth is only the first generation has an accent. As they become more and more Americanized, they lose their accents. Many Irish have said that before leaving Ireland, they didn’t even have an accent, so as soon as you arrive in America it fades away. The only time it’s noticed is when someone watches old Irish movies to hear what they used to sound like. The first immigrants to America were the Irish and today, there is still a presence of their culture. Irish American New Yorkers have a strong presence in sports, finance, media, and politics. They’ve been an integral part of New York history and have made a name for themselves.
4. The Irish American population grew through migrations
Many Irish families made their way over to America during the Potato Famine, but the real growth of the Irish-American community started around 1820. At this time, many Irish men were coming over to America looking for jobs and then bringing their families over. It wasn’t just one big migration of people, it was an ongoing stream of families making their way into the United States. This graphic shows how many Irish people lived in America after each major migration throughout the years. Migrations were happening long before the Potato Famine, and they continued even after the famine.
5. St Patrick’s Day is the 2nd biggest celebration in America after Thanksgiving
St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated by approximately 100,000 people who wore green and partied throughout New York City on March 17th this year. Given that it falls during the spring break season, many college students see the holiday as an opportunity to have a good time without having to worry about class for one day at least. Despite not being nearly as big as Christmas or Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s is still considered one of the two most important holidays in America, along with Thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity for everyone to celebrate their Irish heritage, whether it be by wearing green, drinking some beer, or listening to Irish music.
6. Irish-Americans have one of the lowest poverty rates in America
Irish Americans have a great reputation for succeeding and making a living for their families. Currently, they have one of the lowest poverty rates in America, and it’s even lower than most other white people. This comes as a shock to many who know of the history and struggles of Irish Americans during and after immigration. But now that they’ve been successful enough to break into higher-paying jobs, they’re making significant changes to their economic status. Irish Americans have overcome much adversity and discrimination to become one of the most successful ethnic groups in the United States. They’re now part of a group that represents one of the most well-off populations in America.
No matter if you’re planning an Ireland vacation, learning about St. Patrick’s Day, or just want to know more about Irish-American culture, there are always new things to discover! You can truly never learn too much about this intriguing community.