According to new figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau this month, an astounding 36.5 million Americans claimed to have Irish ancestry in 2007. To put this finding in context, that number is more than eight times the current population of Ireland itself (which numbers more than four million). Irish was the U.S.'s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German. In a figure that will hardly surprise most, 24 percent of all Massachusetts residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2007. This compares with 12 percent for the nation as a whole. In another interesting finding, no less than 32 percent of the people surveyed with Irish ancestry who were 25 or older had a bachelor's degree or more education. In addition, 92 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 28 percent and 85 percent. Median income for households headed by an Irish American was $56,966, higher than the $50,740 threshold for all U.S. households. In addition, 8 percent of people of Irish ancestry live in poverty, lower than the rate of 13 percent for all Americans. According to the new census 39 percent of employed civilian Irish Americans 16 or older work in management, professional and related occupations. Additionally, 27 percent work in sales and office occupations; 15 percent in service occupations; 10 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 9 percent in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations. The percentage of householders of Irish ancestry who own the home in which they live was 72 percent, with the remainder renting. For the nation as a whole, the homeownership rate was 67 percent. In some rare good news for the Irish economy, the U.S. imported $26.2 billion worth of goods from Ireland for the months between January to October 2008. The U.S. exported $7.4 billion worth of goods into Ireland during the same period. For further information on the statistics cited in this report visit http://fact finder.census.gov
Where does the term “the luck of the Irish” come from?