Irish Americans continue to embrace their heritage due to lasting interests in Irish history and culture, and positive perceptions of Irish identity in the United States, according to a new poll. The results are heartening considering that most Irish Americans are now several generations removed from their immigrant ancestors.
“The findings highlight an across-the-board belief that the best way to sustain this connection is to provide more opportunities for young Irish-Americans to study, volunteer and work in Ireland,” The Irish Times reports. That includes more support for Irish studies programs in U.S. colleges and universities, and immigration reform for Irish immigrants in America.
Other highlights include:
- Given a list of what most attracts them to their Irish heritage, 33 percent selected Irish history, followed by 24 percent who picked Irish music. Travel in Ireland was 11 percent.
- Nearly one third (31 percent) said peaceful reunification of Ireland is the most important issue for American politicians to address in relation to Ireland, followed by two-way trade investment at 29 percent. Only 6 percent picked support for the Good Friday Agreement.
- Religious identity continues to decline: 47 percent said they were either Catholic or Raised Catholic, but only 12 are regularly attend Mass, while 15 percent said they were raised Catholic but no longer identify with the faith. Another 19 percent identified as Protestant, while 16 percent identify as non-religious, and 15 percent said other religions.
A sample of 736 Irish-Americans were interviewed in January by Change Research, and the results have a 3.8 percent margin of error. Glucksman Ireland House at New York University, and the Council for American Irish Relations commissioned the poll. See the full survey analysis, which coincides with the start of Irish-American Heritage Month and St. Patrick’s Day.
“Ireland and the United States are forever bound together by our people and our passion. Everything between us runs deep,” President Joe Biden said in the annual heritage month proclamation, which dates to 1991. “In the years ahead, I look forward to strengthening the partnership between our countries and the friendship between our people even further.” Biden is expected to travel to Ireland later this year.
See these Irish-American heritage resources:
- U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (includes my 2017 story for Prologue magazine, “Ireland’s Famine Children ‘Born at Sea’ “)
- Library of Congress
- U.S. Census Bureau
This post was revised March 7, 2023, to provide a link to the full survey. MH