In a move sure to raise eyebrows, the US Census will list Scotch Irish as an ancestry category, but Scotch Irish will be listed under its own category.

So there will be Irish, Scotch Irish, and Irish Scotch as three separate definitions in their annual community surveys and every ten year census.

Quite what the difference between Irish Scotch and Scotch Irish is is not clear, however, and the Census Bureau does not make it clear.

Last week, IrishCentral reported that the Scotch-Irish will no longer be included in official US census figures. A statement from the bureau had 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."

IrishCentral understood this to mean that the term was to be excluded from the census forms, however, the Census bureau says that that is not the case. As in years past, the ancestry question on the form still includes a write-in box where people can write in their ancestry, and those results will still be published.


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The difference is that prior to 2008, there was only one code in the American Community Survey  for anyone who wrote in either Scotch-Irish or Irish-Scotch. Both options were tabulated as "Scotch-Irish."

In 2008, the Census Bureau added a unique code for the Irish-Scotch to more accurately count this population group.

“For the first time, the Irish-Scotch will have their own count which we are still tabulating and are hoping to produce later this year or early in 2013,” a spokesperson confirmed.

To view the latest data from the ICS click here.