How connected are recent emigrants with Ireland?

Most Irish abroad surveyed follow Irish media, Skype often, and visit at least annually

Staying connected to home is important for recent Irish emigrants, according to the results of an Ipsos MRBI poll for The Irish Times, which interviewed Irish nationals who have emigrated since 2008.

Across all respondents, 76 per cent follow Irish-based media, 74 per cent keep up to date with Irish current affairs, 67 per cent follow Irish sport and 42 per cent actively participate in Irish community groups or sports.

Emigrants in the UK and mainland Europe are less likely to participate in Irish community groups or sports, while those in the US, Australia and New Zealand had the highest participation. Those without children are more likely to be involved in Irish groups or sport. Following Irish current affairs and media is popular with all genders and ages, and in all regions.

The Generation Emigration Survey was conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of The Irish Times. Irish nationals who had emigrated since 2008 were interviewed by phone from May 20th to June 2nd.

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Staying connected to people at home is important for respondents. More than 8 in 10 use Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp to keep in touch with people in Ireland, while a similar percentage use Skype, Facetime or Google Hangout.

Younger people are even higher users of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, with 92 per cent of under-25s saying they use these technologies to keep in contact with people in Ireland, falling to 86 per cent of 25-34-year-olds and 69 per cent of over-35s.

While staying connected to home via social media has become easier, 74 per cent of respondents still return home at least once a year. Two in five people return a few times a year. Those in Australia and New Zealand are most likely to return only every two to three years.

Eight per cent of all post-2008 emigrants have not visited home since leaving. The US has the highest proportion of emigrants who have not visited Ireland since they left; 17 per cent of Irish in the US have not been home.