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"The Best Country in the World": The Surprising Social Mobility of New York’s Irish Famine Immigrants

Tyler Anbinder, Cormac Ó Gráda and Simone Wegge

No 202121, Working Papers from School of Economics, University College Dublin

Abstract: We use databases we have created from the records of New York’s Emigrant Savings Bank, founded by pre-Famine Irish immigrants and their children to serve Famine era immigrants, to study the social mobility of bank customers and, by extension, Irish immigrants more generally. We infer that New York’s Famine Irish had a greater range of employment opportunities open to them than perhaps commonly acknowledged, and that the majority were eventually able to move a rung or two up the American socio-economic ladder, supporting the conviction of many Famine immigrants that the U.S. was indeed “the best country in the world.”

Keywords: Famine; Migration; Ireland; New York (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G21 J6 N0 N3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 37 pages
Date: 2021-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-lab and nep-mig
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