Census Facts for Irish-American Heritage Month & St. Patrick’s Day

Did you know that GISuser.com Editor has 2 children born on St. Patrick’s Day.. and they aren’t twins! Although not an “official” holiday in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day has a long history of being celebrated with parades and general goodwill for all things Irish. Read on for some fun "St. Patty’s Day" facts we found at the US Census Bureau.

The day commemorates St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. Because many Americans celebrate their Irish lineage on St. Patrick’s Day, March was picked as Irish-American Heritage Month. The month was first proclaimed in 1995 by Congress. The U.S. president also issues an Irish-American Heritage Month proclamation.

Population Distribution

34.3 million
Number of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (3.9 million).

Percentage of Massachusetts residents of Irish ancestry — about double the national percentage. The other New England states also have relatively high concentrations of people of Irish descent, with New Hampshire (23 percent) and Rhode Island (21 percent) the highest.

Coming to America

Number of foreign-born U.S. residents born in Ireland.

4.8 million
Total number of immigrants from Ireland admitted for lawful permanent residence since fiscal year 1820, the earliest year for which official immigration records exist; about half of these immigrants were admitted for lawful permanent residence by fiscal year 1870. Only Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Mexico have had more immigrants admitted for permanent residence to the United States than Ireland.

Total number of immigrants from Ireland admitted for lawful permanent residence to the United States in the 2002 fiscal year.

Trade With the “Old Sod”

$23.2 billion
The value of U.S. imports from the Republic of Ireland during a recent 11-month period (January-November 2003). Nearly half the imports were organic chemicals, worth about $11.0 billion. Meanwhile, the United States exported $7.1 billion worth of goods to Ireland, with the leading exports being nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and parts worth $1.5 billion in all.

Places to Spend the Day

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 2,623 and 1,914 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had 163 residents and Shamrock, Okla., 127.

Number of places in the United States that share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. Since Census 2000, Dublin, Calif., has surpassed Dublin, Ohio, as the most populous of these places (34,345 compared with 32,806 as of July 1, 2002).

• If you’re still not into the spirit of St. Paddy’s Day after stopping by one of the places named “Shamrock” or “Dublin,” then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, N.C., with 3,500 residents, of whom a ratio of 1-in-6 are of Irish descent.

The Celebration

The number of gallons of beer consumed per capita by Americans annually. On St. Patrick’s Day, some drinking establishments offer green-dyed beer to their thirsty patrons.
See Table 216: 

Irish-Americans are both better-educated and more financially well-off than the population as a whole. Thirty percent of those age 25 years old and over have bachelor’s degrees or higher, and their annual median household income is $48,900; for the population as a whole, the respective figures are 24 percent and $42,000.

Source of information: US Census Bureau

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