St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner with parades and celebrations that will bring tens of thousands of people outdoors for enjoyment, beginning this weekend in the Kansas City area. Let’s hope the chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday holds off until people have gotten their fill of fun.
North Kansas City has its Snake Saturday Parade, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday at 14th and Swift avenues. It is expected to attract 100,000 people. Brookside also has its 36th Annual St. Patrick’s Warm-Up Parade at 2 p.m. Saturday, starting at 65th Street and Wornall Road. To be sure, the Irish and everybody else will be out watching.
Not to be left out, the 29th Martin City St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at Washington and 135th streets in south Kansas City. That is always a hoot.
The big event in town is the 44th Annual Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It will start at 11 a.m. Thursday, which is the actual St. Patrick’s Day, and begin at Broadway and Linwood Boulevard. Westport is the eventual place, where crowds settle for merriment well into the evening.
But beyond all of the festive events, the U.S. Census wants people to be more informed about the Irish in the United States to enrich people’s conversations during the many parades, festivities and get-togethers. For instance, Congress first proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1991. Presidents thereafter have issued proclamations, commemorating the occasion each year.
St. Patrick’s Day originally was a religious holiday honoring St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century. St. Patrick’s Day has grown into a celebration since then, highlighting all things Irish.
New York City can boast having the world’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, 1762 — before the United States was even a country. That parade included Irish soldiers serving in Great Britain’s military. The New York parade became an annual event with President Harry S. Truman, Missouri’s only native son to be elected to the White House, attending in 1948.
In the U.S., 33.1 million people, or 10.4 percent in 2014, claimed some Irish ancestry. That 33.1 million Irish in the U.S. is more than seven times the 4.6 million population of Ireland. By the way, “Irish” was the second most frequently reported European ancestry right behind German.
In 2014, 21.5 percent of Massachusetts residents claimed Irish ancestry. New Hampshire, at 20.9 percent, was the only other state where the Irish ancestry was more than 20 percent. California — with 2.5 million people reporting Irish ancestry — had the highest actual number in the country. New York and Pennsylvania also reported more than 2 million Irish-Americans.
Braintree, Mass., with 42.3 percent of its 36,000 residents reporting Irish ancestry, was among many Boston area communities with close to a majority Irish population. Chicago has 196,568 Irish Americans. It puts on incredible St. Patrick’s Day events, including dyeing the Chicago River green. Chicago’s Irish-American population is second in the U.S. behind New York’s 363,045. Philadelphia is third with 176,568 Irish-Americans.
The census reports that 35.6 percent of Irish-Americans age 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with 30.1 percent of the U.S. overall. Also, 93.7 percent of Irish-Americans had at least a high school diploma, compared with 86.9 percent for the U.S. as a whole.
The census reports that the median income for households headed by Irish-Americans in 2014 was $62,141, which was 16 percent higher than the $53,657 median income of all U.S. households. Also, 7 percent of family households headed by Irish-Americans lived in poverty compared with 11.3 percent for all Americans.
In 2014, 42.6 percent of employed Irish-Americans age 16 and older worked in management, business, science and arts occupations. Also 24.8 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 15.6 in service jobs; 9.5 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 7.6 percent in natural resources, construction and maintenance jobs.
Irish-Americans were homeowners at a higher rate than the rest of the U.S. population — 68.3 percent compared with 63.1 percent.
Of the foreign-born in the U.S., 243,135 in 2014 were of Irish ancestry, and 143,256 had become naturalized citizens. The median age of people in the U.S. claiming Irish ancestry was 40.1 years, which was higher than the 37.7 years for U.S. residents overall.
Other fun facts from the census include South Bend, Ind., home of the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame, having a population of 101,190, and about 11.5 percent of those folks claim Irish ancestry.
Among the 50 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S., the Boston area at 22.8 percent had the highest percentage of residents claiming Irish ancestry. Boston, after all is the home of the Celtics NBA team.
The U.S. boasts 16 places that share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. The largest of them is Dublin, Calif., with a population of 54,695 people. People wanting to really get into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit might consider visiting Emerald Isle, N.C., population 3,717.
There’s also Irishtown, Ill., Clover, S.C., Clover, Ill., Clover, Minn., Clover, Pa., Clover, W.Va., Clover, Wis., and Clover, Va. In addition, people can go to Shamrock, Okla.; Shamrock, Texas; Shamrock, Minn.; Shamrock, Neb.; and Shamrock, Mo.
Gaelic as a language is alive and well. In the U.S. 20,590 people speak Gaelic.
Ireland is a big U.S. trade partner with $34 billion in goods imported from the old country in 2014. People do enjoy Irish food and drinks. The U.S. in 2013 had 235,701 full-service Irish restaurants and 41,582 Irish bars and taverns.
Corned beef and cabbage is a favorite for St. Patrick’s Day. The U.S. in 2014 had 40.3 billion pounds of beef production and 2.2 billion pounds of cabbage production.
Enjoy the good food, good cheer, great parades and good company during this area St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.