St. Patrick’s Day by the Numbers

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Find fun facts about the holiday that originally celebrated St. Patrick for introducing Christianity to Ireland, but now celebrates all things Irish.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Related Links

33.1 million, or 10.4%

Number and percentage of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2014. 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 Massachusetts residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2014. New Hampshire, at 20.9 percent, is the only other state in which more than 20 percent claimed Irish ancestry. (The rates for the two states were not statistically different from each other.) California had 2.5 million people claiming Irish ancestry, which was the highest of any state. Two other states —New York and Pennsylvania—also had more than 2 million Irish-Americans.


Percentage of the population of Braintree, Mass., who were of Irish ancestry. Braintree is just one example of the many communities near Boston that are close to having a majority Irish population. Scituate, Hanover, Marshfield and Norwell are some others.


Number of Irish-Americans living in Chicago, the location of one of the nation's most renowned St. Patrick's Day traditions: dyeing the Chicago River green. Chicago's Irish-American population was second among cities only to New York (363,045), home to the world's oldest and largest St. Patrick's Day parade. Philadelphia was third at 176,568.

Irish-Americans Today


Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor's degree or higher. In addition, 93.7 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 30.1 percent and 86.9 percent, respectively.


Median income for households headed by an Irish-American, higher than the median household income of $53,657 for all households. In addition, 7.0 percent of family households headed by a householder of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 11.3 percent for all Americans.


Percentage of employed civilian Irish-Americans 16 or older who worked in management, business, science and arts occupations. Additionally, 24.8 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 15.6 percent in service occupations; 9.5 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 7.6 percent in natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations.


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 63.1 percent.


Number of foreign-born U.S. residents with Irish ancestry in 2014. Of these, 143,256 had become naturalized citizens.

40.1 years old

Median age of those who claimed Irish ancestry, which is higher than U.S. residents as a whole at 37.7 years.

Sports Celebration of Irish Heritage


Population of South Bend, Ind., home to the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame. About 11.5 percent of South Bend's population claimed Irish ancestry in 2014.


Percentage of the Boston metropolitan area population that claimed Irish ancestry, the highest percentage among the 50 most populous metro areas. Boston is home to the Celtics of the National Basketball Association.

79,637 and 17,032

Population of New Rochelle, N.Y., and Moraga, Calif., home to the Gaels of Iona University and Saint Mary's College of California, respectively. About 8.5 percent of the New Rochelle population and 12.7 percent of the Moraga population claimed Irish ancestry.

Reminders of the Old Country


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 these places in 2014 was Dublin, Calif., at 54,695.

If you're still not into the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, N.C., with 3,717 residents.

Other places that might conjure up images of the old country include 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 [two], Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska).


Estimated number of U.S. residents who spoke Irish Gaelic. All except about 2,500 of them also spoke English "very well."


Number of U.S. residents who were born in Ireland.

$34.0 billion

Value of goods imported from Ireland in 2014. This compared with $7.8 billion exported there.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

235,701 & 41,582

Number of full-service restaurants and drinking places (bars and taverns), respectively, in the U.S. in 2013. Many people will head to one or the other to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.


Number of synthetic dye and pigment manufacturing establishments around the U.S. in 2013. It is an annual tradition to dye the Chicago River green as part of the Windy City's St. Patrick's Day celebration. The dye used very well could have been produced by one of these establishments.

40.3 billion & 2.2 billion

U.S. beef and cabbage production, respectively, in pounds, in 2014. Corned beef and cabbage is a staple at St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

Sources +