On St. Patrick's Day, it is said everyone is Irish and a sweet sentiment it is, too, but the fact is Irish immigration to America has slowed to a trickle and even the Irish residing in the U.S. seem to have lost their connection to the old country.
According to IrishCentral.com, 34.1 million Americans claim Irish heritage - just over 10 percent of the population - second only to the number of Americans who claim German heritage.
But in 2018, we are 175 years past the potato famine that gutted Irish populations and sent them fleeing to America. In some of those early years, 20,000 Irish per month legally immigrated to the U.S. That number is now down to a few thousand per year, according to IrishCentral.com. What this means is that the strong Irish communities with strong ties to the old country have mostly melted into America.
And chances are they don't remember Ireland. About 37 percent of Irish-Americans under 45 have never been to Ireland, according to a recent NYU/Irish Central/Amarach research study of 1,388 Irish-Americans. Only 34 percent have joined Irish organizations. About 50 percent have only been to Ireland once. Observers believe that this is the last Irish-American generation with a connection to family in Ireland.