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. Following are a few key statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau in recognition of St. Patrick's Day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sports Celebration of Irish Heritage
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.
For more key statistics, please go to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest issue of Facts for Features.