Green will be the color of the day, and the streets of Kansas City will be overrun with parades and parties for St. Patrick’s Day.
The 43rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade went down Broadway starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday running from Linwood Boulevard to 43rd Street, and wouldn’t you know it ended near Westport, where thirsty parade-goers and participants could wet their whistle with a brew.
While drinking, the Irish and the wannabes can share some fun facts from the U.S. Census Bureau to go with St. Patrick’s Day. Did you know, for instance, that 35.1 percent of the people age 25 or older in this country are of Irish ancestry?
Of them, 93.6 percent of Irish Americans in that age group have at least a high school diploma compared with 86.6 percent for the population as a whole. Congress in 1991 proclaimed March as Irish American Heritage Month.
St. Patrick’s Day originally was a religious holiday in honor of Saint Patrick who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. The parade became an annual event with Missouri’s own President Harry Truman attending in 1948.
The census puts the median income for households headed by Irish Americans at $60,967 compared with $52,250 for all U.S. households. A little more than 7 percent of Irish family households lived in poverty compared with 11.6 percent for all Americans.
The census says 41.9 percent of employed civilian Irish Americans 16 and older worked in management, business, science and art occupations; 25.5 percent in sales and office occupations; 15.6 percent in service jobs; 9.4 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 7.6 percent in natural resources.
The 33.3 million Americans who claimed Irish ancestry in 2013 was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself at 4.6 million people. Irish is the second most frequently claimed European ancestry, right behind German. In Massachusetts, 21.2 percent of the population claims Irish ancestry, the highest in the U.S. California has 2.5 million people who say they have Irish ancestry, the highest number of any state.
In 2013, there were 251,033 foreign-born U.S. residents with Irish ancestry; of them, 150,256 became naturalized citizens. The median age of the people who claimed Irish ancestry is 39.7, which is higher than the 37.5 median age for U.S. residents as a whole.
Enjoy the fun, and be safe.