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The U.S. 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 of 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.

The following facts are made possible by the invaluable responses to the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys. We appreciate the public’s cooperation as we continuously measure America’s people, places and economy. 

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Did You Know?

32.6 million or 10.1%

The number and percentage of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2017.


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The number of foreign-born U.S. residents who reported Ireland as their birthplace in 2017.

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The county with among the highest percentage of people who claimed Irish ancestry in 2017 was Plymouth County, Mass.

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The estimated number of U.S. residents who spoke Irish Gaelic.

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More Stats

See a detailed profile on the Irish population from the 2017 American Community Survey. Statistics include:

  • Sex and age
  • Marital status
  • Educational attainment
  • Veteran status
  • Employment status
  • Occupation
  • Commuting
  • Housing
  • Income

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

African-American History Month (February)
Women's History Month (March)
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
The Fourth of July (July 4)
Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Halloween (Oct. 31)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving Day/Holiday Season (November-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:

Profile America's Facts for Features provides statistics related to observances and holidays not covered by Stats for Stories. For observances not listed below, visit our Stats for Stories web page. 

Profile America's Stats for Stories provides links to timely story ideas highlighting the Census Bureau's newsworthy statistics that relate to current events, observances, holidays, and anniversaries. The story ideas are intended to assist the media in story mining and producing content for their respective audiences.




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