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High achievers, naturalised citizens and thousands of gaeilgeoirí: A breakdown of the Irish in America

Ireland has one Dublin. The US has fifteen.

Image: Mary Altaffer AP/Press Association Images

IT MAY NOT date back an awful long time, but March has again been declared Irish-American Heritage Month in the States, with US President Donald Trump making the announcement earlier this week.

Ahead of the Heritage Month, the US Census Bureau published a statistical breakdown of some of the lesser-known facts about the Irish in America.

Alongside the number of people claiming Irish heritage, 32.7 million or 10.2%, there was a plethora of stats that tell the story of the Irish in America today.

Here are some of the best:


There are 15 places or county subdivisions in the US that share a name with our capital.

The most populous town, with 57,721 people, is found in Dublin, California. We reckon the weather there is a lot better than Dublin, Ireland.

cb17-ff05_graphic A breakdown of US Dublins by population, and the number of people reporting Irish heritage. Source: US Census Bureau

In Dublin, Pennsylvania, on the other hand, has a population of only 2,120 but almost a quarter of people there (474) claim to have Irish ancestry.

Academic achievement

According to a 2015 survey, the percentage of people with Irish ancestry over the age of 25 who had a bachelor’s degree or higher was 36.2%. This was significantly higher than the national average of 30.6%.

shutterstock_380248333 Source: Shutterstock/Prasit Rodphan

Similarly, 94.1% of people reporting Irish ancestry had a high-school diploma, compared to 87.1% in the general population.

Average incomes

When American households are headed by an Irish-American, its overall income is also higher than average.

Where the average household pulls in €55,775 per year, Irish-American ones earn €64,322.


In 2015, there were 241,481 non US-born people in America with Irish ancestry.

St Patricks Day Parade Source: Mary Altaffer AP/Press Association Images

Of these, 143,972 had become naturalised citizens.

Furthermore, 120,144 foreign-born people in 2015 reported Ireland as their birthplace.

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There an estimated 20,590 people in the US that speak Gaelic.

With the exception of 2,500 of them, most said they could speak English “very well”.


The value of imports from Ireland to the US is valued at around €39 billion.

Of these, however, €25 billion fell in the category of pharmaceuticals and medicines.

Place names

Dublin aside, there’s plenty of place names across the US with an Irish feel to them.

Emerald Isle, North Carolina, is an obvious candidate with a population of 3,720.

21414231132_f87ef6bf24_o Sunset over Emerald Isle beach, North Carolina Source: John via Flickr

There’s also an Irishtown, Illinois, and several Shamrocks with one in Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska.

In terms of actual place names – Cork, Belfast, Galway etc. – there’s a plethora of them.

Read: Maintaining tradition, Trump declares March ‘Irish-American Heritage Month’

Read: Leo Varadkar is the first minister to say Trump shouldn’t be invited to Ireland>

About the author:

Sean Murray

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