March is Irish-American Heritage Month



Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day in America 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.  The US Congress first proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and each year since then, the President issues a proclamation announcing Irish-American Heritage Month.




The remarkable Irish-Americans:


The number of Americans who claim Irish ancestry is approximately 36.5 million. This number is more than seven times the total population of Ireland and Northern Ireland today (approximately 5.16 million). Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry. 24% percent of Massachusetts residents claim Irish ancestry, compared with a rate of only 12% for the nation as a whole.

32% of Irish-Americans, 25 or older, have a bachelor’s degree or more education. In addition, 92% of Irish-Americans in this age group have at least a high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the corresponding rates are only 28% and 85%.  


39% of all employed civilian Irish-Americans, 16 years or older, work in management, professional and related occupations. Additionally, 27% work in sales and office occupations; 15% in service occupations; 10% in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 9% in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations.  


$56,966 is the median income for households headed by an Irish-American, much higher than the $50,740 reported for all American households.  


72% percent of Irish-American householders own the home in which they live. For the nation as a whole, the homeownership rate is only 67%. 


Only 8% of people of Irish ancestry are in poverty, far lower than the rate of 13% for all Americans.



…and the Irish in Ireland have been doing very well too:

The value of imports from Ireland to the United States for January to October 2008 was $26.2 billion; meanwhile, the United States exported only $7.4 billion worth of goods to Ireland during the same period.


According to the World Bank, Ireland now ranks 6th among all nations in terms of gross national income per capita, ahead of the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Japan:


Sources: US Census Bureau and World Bank

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