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Sunday, March 17, 2024

Declining Ranks of Irish Americans

In 2017, Drew DeSilver reported at Pew:
In 2015, 32.7 million Americans, or one-in-ten, identified themselves as being of Irish ancestry, making it the second-largest ancestry group in the U.S. after Germans. In addition, nearly 3 million Americans claimed Scotch-Irish ancestry, or just under 1% of the entire population. (The Scotch-Irish were mainly Ulster Protestants who migrated to the British colonies in the decades before independence, while Irish Catholics didn’t begin arriving in large numbers until the 1840s.) By comparison, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have a combined population of about 6.6 million. 
The ranks of both Irish and Scotch-Irish Americans have fallen a lot in the past two-and-a-half decades, and the trend does not appear likely to reverse. Two decades ago, in 1990, 38.7 million Americans (15.6% of the total population) claimed Irish ancestry, and 5.6 million (2.3%) identified as Scotch-Irish.

Both ancestral groups are older than the U.S. population as a whole. In 2013, the median age of those claiming Irish ancestry was 40.5, and 52.1 for those of Scotch-Irish ancestry, versus a median age of 37.8 for the entire population. Nor are the Irish immigrating to the U.S. in anything close to the numbers they used to: In fiscal 2015, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics, just 1,607 Irish-born people obtained legal permanent residency.

The trend has continued.  From the Census:

30.7 million or 9.2% The number and percentage of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2022. Source: 2022 American Community Survey 1-year estimates

112,251 The number of foreign-born U.S. residents who reported Ireland as their birthplace in 2022. Source: 2022 American Community Survey 1-year estimates

And in fiscal 2022, the number of Irish people obtaining legal permanent residency was just 1,407.