Celebrating Irish-American Heritage Month: Ireland by the Numbers

The St. Patrick's Day celebration marks the highlight of Irish-American Heritage Month. MERIC is "lucky" enough to know the answers to such questions as: How many Missourians are of Irish ancestry and which Missouri city has the largest Irish population? How much does Missouri export to Ireland every year? What's so special about St. Patrick, MO.?


Number of the 5.6 million Missourians who report Irish as their single ancestry. Among those reporting Irish as some part of their ancestry, there are 871,181 Missourians.

Number of Kansas City residents with Irish as a single ancestry, the largest of any Missouri city. Other Missouri cities with large Irish ancestries are: St. Louis (19,961), Independence (13,793), Springfield (10,406), Lee's Summit (7,706), Columbia (6,727), and St. Joseph (6,247).

12.7 Percent 
Percentage of Missouri's ethnic Irish ancestry. Germans (23.5%) make up the largest percent of Missouri's ethnic roots, followed by Native and African-American combined (10.5%), English (9.5%) and French (3.5%). Irish also make up 12 percent of the U.S. population.

34.7 Million 
Number of U.S. citizens who claim Irish ancestry, almost nine times the population of Ireland (4.2 million). Irish is the second most frequently reported ancestry among U.S. citizens, trailing only German ancestry.


$74.5 Million 
Amount Missouri exported to Ireland in 2006, ranking the country 19th among the 191 international buyers of Missouri goods. This marked an increase from the previous year of $4.1 million, a change of 5.86%.

Famous Irish-Missourians and St. Patrick, MO

Mark Twain 
Humorist, satirist, writer and lecturer was born in Florida, Missouri and grew up in Hannibal descended from Scotch-Irish ancestors.

Ulysses S. Grant 
Eighteenth President of the United States and leading Union general in the Civil War worked as a St. Louis farm laborer and bill collector also descended from Scotch-Irish ancestors.

St. Patrick, Missouri 
Village town in northeast Missouri with a population of 19. Some 700 travelers visit the town on St. Patrick's Day every year to witness the Shrine of St. Patrick. Father Francis O'Duignan began raising money for the $250,000 shrine in 1936 by sending letters around the country to people with Irish last names, asking if they would like to have their letters postmarked from the town and inviting them to make a contribution. The shrine was dedicated in 1957 and celebrated its 50th anniversary on St. Patrick's Day of this year.

2005 American Community Survey,
Missouri Division of Tourism,

A Wee bit of Ireland


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