Skip Header
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


Facts for Features: Irish-American Heritage Month (March) and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17): 2015

Release Number CB15-FF.04

Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1991, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.

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.

Graphic [JPG <1.0MB]

Population Distribution

33.3 million

Number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2013. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.6 million). Irish was the nation’s second-most frequently reported European ancestry, trailing German.
Sources: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541
http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/B04003/0100000US
Ireland Central Statistics Office
http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/pme/populationandmigrationestimatesapril2014/#.VInESmNsgtM

21.2%

Percentage of the population in Massachusetts that claimed Irish ancestry, which is among the highest in the nation. California has 2.5 million people claiming Irish ancestry, which is the highest of any state.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/DP02/0100000US.04000

251,033

Number of foreign-born U.S. residents with Irish ancestry in 2013. Of these, 150,256 had become naturalized citizens.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541

39.7 years old

Median age of those who claimed Irish ancestry, which is higher than U.S. residents as a whole at 37.5 years.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/S0201/0100000US/

Irish-Americans Today

35.1%

Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In addition, 93.6 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 29.6 percent and 86.6 percent, respectively.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~001|541

$60,967

Median income for households headed by an Irish-American, higher than the median household income of $52,250 for all households. In addition, 7.3 percent of family households of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 11.6 percent for all Americans.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~001|541

41.9%

Percentage of employed civilian Irish-Americans 16 or older who worked in management, business, science and arts occupations. Additionally, 25.5 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 15.6 percent in service occupations; 9.4 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 7.6 percent in natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~001|541

68.6%

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 63.5 percent.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~001|541

Sports Celebration of Irish Heritage

101,975

Population of South Bend, Ind., home to the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame. About 11.0 percent of South Bend’s population claims Irish ancestry.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/DP02/1600000US1871000

22.1%

Percentage of the Boston metropolitan area population that claims Irish ancestry, one of the highest percentages for the top 50 metro areas by population. Boston is home to the Celtics of the National Basketball Association.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey
http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_1YR/DP02/0100000US.31000.005

79,446 and 16,771

Population of New Rochelle, N.Y., and Moraga, Calif., home to the Gaels of Iona University and St. Mary’s College of California, respectively. About 9.5 percent of the New Rochelle population and 13.3 percent of the Moraga population claim Irish ancestry.
Sources: 2013 Population Estimates and 2013 American Community Survey
https://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2013/SUB-EST2013.html
http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_5YR/DP02/1600000US0649187|1600000US3650617

Places to Spend the Day

16

Number of places (incorporated places and census designated places) or county subdivisions in the United States that share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. The most populous of the places named Dublin in 2013 was Dublin, Calif., at 52,105.
Source: 2013 Population Estimates
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/PEP/2013/PEPANNRES/0400000US06.16200

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 3,714 residents.
Source: 2013 Population Estimates
http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/PEP/2013/PEPANNRES/0400000US37.16200

Other appropriate places in which to spend the day: the township of Irishtown, Ill., several places or county subdivisions named Clover (in South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) or one of the six places that are named Shamrock (in Oklahoma, Texas (2), Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska).
Source: https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/gazetteer.html

The 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)
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; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

Top

Back to Header