Almost 35 million people currently living in the US claim Irish ancestry, according to the just released figures from the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey for 2010.
But in a controversial move the figures for the numbers of Scotch-Irish are no longer available. The Census Bureau has announced the change.
In a statement they said “While the ancestry tables will all look the same, the interpretation of the"Scotch-Irish" and "Other groups" estimates will change. ….Individuals reporting Irish-Scotch are no longer tabulated as "Scotch-Irish" but rather are included in the "Other groups" category.”
That information could well upset the millions of Americans who are of Scotch-Irish heritage which will no longer now be acknowledged as a separate heritage.
US Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has been an outspoken advocate of the Scotch-Irish and wrote a best selling book called "Born Fighting” about them.
Among the most famous Scotch-Irish are Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett and President Chester Arthur.
Much of the appeal for Northern Ireland tourism efforts to woo American tourists has been aimed at the Scotch-Irish, primaily in the south. Now it will be far moredifficult to locate them.
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The latest figures show a total of 34,669,616 people residing in the US claim Irish ancestry.
Massachusetts continues to have the highest concentration of Irish, with almost one-in-four claiming Irish ancestry.
Hawaii has the lowest percentage, with less than one-in-twenty residents claiming Irish roots.
The data shows that the Irish are the fourth largest ethnic group in the US in 2010, representing a 11.21 percent of the population.
According to the census, persons of Irish ancestry live in all 50 states. A total of 11 states have more than one million persons of Irish or Scotch-Irish ancestry.
The Florida Irish Heritage Centre reports that Florida has the fifth largest population of Irish or Scotch-Irish ancestry (2,068,006).