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Facts for Features
CB12-FF.03
Jan. 24, 2012

Irish-American Heritage Month (March)
and St. Patrick's Day (March 17): 2012

Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world's first St. Patrick's Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.

Population Distribution

34.7 million

Number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2010. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.58 million). Irish was the nation's second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German.
Sources: 2010 American Community Survey <http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>
Ireland Central Statistics Office
<http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/releasespublications/documents/population/current/Population%20and%20Migration%20Estimates%20April%202011.pdf>

144,588

Number of Irish-born naturalized U.S. residents in 2010.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>

39.2 years old

Median age of those who claim Irish ancestry is higher than U.S. residents as a whole (37.2 years).
Source: 2010 American Community Survey <http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>

13%

Percent of New York state residents who were of Irish ancestry in 2010. This compares with a rate of 11.2 percent for the nation as a whole.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/DP02/0400000US36>
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/DP02>

Irish-Americans Today

33%

Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor's degree or higher. In addition, 92.5 percent of Irish-Americans in this age group had at least a high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the corresponding rates were 28.2 percent and 85.6 percent, respectively.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>

$56,363

Median income for households headed by an Irish-American, higher than the $50,046 for all households. In addition, 6.9 percent of households of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 11.3 percent for all Americans.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>

41%

Percentage of employed civilian Irish-Americans 16 or older who worked in management, professional and related occupations. Additionally, 26.3 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 15.7 percent in service occupations; 9.2 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 7.8 percent in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>

70%

Percentage of householders of Irish ancestry who owned the home in which they live, with the remainder renting. For the nation as a whole, the homeownership rate was 65.4 percent.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>

Places to Spend the Day

7

Number of places in the United States named Shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and Shamrock, Texas, were the most populous, with 1,779 and 1,910 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had 231 residents and Shamrock, Okla., 101, and three Shamrock Townships in Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri had populations of 1,272, 413 and 40, respectively.
Source: 2010 Demographic Profile
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_DP/DPDP1/0600000US2700159368|0600000US2902766962|
0600000US3108944525|1600000US1868976|1600000US4066600|1600000US4867160|1600000US5456342
>

16

Number of places in the United States that share the name of Ireland's capital, Dublin. The most populous of these places is Dublin, Calif., with a population of 46,036.
Source: 2010 Demographic Profile
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_DP/DPDP1/1600000US0620018>

If you're still not into the spirit of St. Paddy's Day, then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, N.C., with 3,655 residents.
Source: 2010 Demographic Profile
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_DP/DPDP1/1600000US3721160>

Other appropriate places in which to spend the day: the township of Irishtown, Ill., several places or townships named Clover (in South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) and the township of Cloverleaf, Minn.

The Celebration

26.4 billion and 2.3 billion

U.S. beef and cabbage production, respectively, in pounds, in 2010. Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick's Day dish.
Sources: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <http://www.ers.usda.gov/news/BSECoverage.htm>
and <http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1397>

$24 million

Value of potted florist chrysanthemum sales at wholesale in 2010 for operations with $100,000 or more sales. Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
<http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/FlorCrop/FlorCrop-04-21-2011_revision.pdf>

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Earth Day (April 22)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014