A Vital Part of the Region’s Culture & Economy
Those who have made Maine communities their home for generations are passionate about preserving and celebrating their heritage, and they continue to enrich and strengthen our towns and cities. Others who have only recently settled here carry on this legacy by helping to shape the region’s culture and making vital contributions to its economy.
With many waves of emigration from Ireland dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, several Irish neighborhoods sprung up in Portland, making their mark on the city. Irish-American community members continue to enrich the cultural flavor of the region with activities and organizations, including the Maine Irish Heritage Center. (In fact, John Ford, celebrated director and Portland native, was the son of an Irish immigrant family that settled in Portland, and the city recognizes August 31st as John Ford Day.)
Shaping the Region
In recent years, immigrants have helped revitalize communities, and they continue this fundamental role. Entrepreneurs, workers, students and consumers, immigrants are vital to Maine’s economy. And, the richness and diversity they provide is recognized and valued by those who live and visit our region.
Maine has long been a resettlement region for Somali and Sudanese immigrants escaping refugee camps and hardships in their countries. More recently, immigrants from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and other regions have come to Greater Portland by choice, citing it a welcoming place to live and work. Immigrants come to find opportunities, go to school, start a business, or bring their success as professionals in their home country to a new population.