Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association

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Irish Statistics

Irish-American Heritage Month (March) and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) 2006

Although not an official “federal” 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. The day commemorates St. Patrick,
believed to have died on March 17, 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. Each year, the U.S.
president also issues an Irish-American Heritage Month proclamation.

Population Distribution

34.5 million
Number of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost
nine times the population of Ireland itself (4.1 million). Irish is the
nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only those of
German ancestry. (The ancestry estimates exclude people living in group
quarters.) (Source: American FactFinder and
< http://www.cso.ie/releasespublications/documents/population/current/popmig.pdf >)

24%
Percentage of Massachusetts residents of Irish ancestry — about double the
national percentage. (The estimate of people of Irish ancestry excludes
people living in group quarters.) (Source: American FactFinder)

3
Number of states in which Irish is the leading ancestry group: Delaware,
Massachusetts and
New Hampshire. Irish is among the top-five ancestries in every state but
two (Hawaii and
New Mexico).
< http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/census_2000/001870.html >

54
Number of counties where Irish is the largest observed ancestry group.
Forty-four of these counties are in the Northeast, with 14 in New York, 11
in Massachusetts and five in New Jersey.
(The number of people of Irish ancestry in a county may not be
significantly different from the number of people of other ancestries in
the county.) (Source: unpublished data)

348,978
Number of Middlesex County, Mass., residents who are of Irish ancestry.
Among the 54 counties where Irish is the largest observed ancestry group,
Middlesex had the highest population of Irish-Americans, with Norfolk
County, Mass., second, with 203,285. (Source: unpublished data)

31%
Percentage of the population of Plymouth County, Mass., and Norfolk County,
Mass., that is of Irish ancestry. Among the 54 counties where Irish is the
largest observed ancestry group, these two counties had the highest rate.
(Source: unpublished data)

The Mother Tongue

25,870
The number of U.S. residents who speak Irish Gaelic at home.
< http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/lang_use.html >

Coming to America

128,000
Number of U.S. residents born in Ireland. (The estimate excludes people
living in group quarters.) (Source: American FactFinder)

4.8 million
Total number of immigrants from Ireland lawfully admitted to the United
States for permanent residence since fiscal year 1820, the earliest year
for which official immigration records exist. By fiscal year 1870, about
half of these immigrants were admitted for lawful permanent residence. Only
Germany, Mexico, Italy and the United Kingdom have had more immigrants
admitted for permanent residence to the United States than Ireland.
(Source: Department of Homeland Security at
< http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/statistics/yearbook/YrBk04Im.htm >. See
Table 1.)

1,518
Total number of immigrants from Ireland lawfully admitted to the United
States for permanent residence in the 2004 fiscal year. (Source: Department
of Homeland Security at
< http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/statistics/yearbook/YrBk04Im.htm >. See
Table 2.)

Trade With the “Old Sod”

$24.0 billion
The value of U.S. imports from the Republic of Ireland during a recent
10-month period (January-October 2005). Meanwhile, the United States
exported $7.5 billion worth of goods to Ireland.
< http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/www/ >

Places to Spend the Day

4
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
1,821 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had 162 residents and
Shamrock, Okla., 126. (Statistic for Mount Gay-Shamrock is from Census
2000; the other statistics in this paragraph are 2004 estimates.)
(Source: American FactFinder and
< http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/005268.html >)

9
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 (36,995 compared with 34,301,
respectively, as of July 1, 2004).
(Source: American FactFinder and
< http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/005268.html >)

If you’re still not into the spirit of St. Patty’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 3,648 residents, of which a
ratio of 1-in-6 are of Irish descent. (Source: American FactFinder and
< http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/005268.html >)

The Celebration

41.5 billion & 2.5 billion
U.S. beef and cabbage production, respectively, in pounds, in 2004. Corned
beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. The corned beef
celebrants dine on may very well have originated in Texas, which produced
7.3 billion pounds worth of beef, while the cabbage most likely came from
California, which produced 558 million pounds worth.
< http://www.nass.usda.gov/index.asp >

21.6
The number of gallons of beer consumed per capita by Americans annually in
2003. On St. Patrick’s Day, you may be able to order green-dyed beer at one
of the nation’s 48,050 drinking places, some of which may be Irish pubs.
See Table 201, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2006
< http://www.census.gov/prod/www/statistical-abstract.html > and
< http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/03cbp/cbp03-1.pdf >.

389
Number of breweries in 2003. The nation’s breweries are the source for the
domestic beer that is often an integral part of St. Patty’s Day
celebrations. < http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/03cbp/cbp03-1.pdf >

$75 million
Value of potted florist chrysanthemum sales at wholesale in 2004. Lime
green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick’s Day
celebrations. < http://www.nass.usda.gov/index.asp >

8 million
Number of St. Patrick’s Day cards Americans exchanged last year, making
this observance the ninth-largest card-sending occasion in the United
States. (Source: Hallmark research.)

93.3 million
Number of people who reportedly planned to wear green last St. Patrick’s
Day.
(Source: National Retail Federation, via Hallmark.)

Looking to market to the Irish? If you need mailing list recommendations or other direct mail marketing help, check out the NMOA's Advanced Member Services.

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