Top 5 Countries with Irish populations – People of Irish ancestry have settled all over the world. Emigration has been a key component of Irish history, not only shaping the homeland itself but impacting the development of the countries in which the Irish have settled.
Top 5 Countries with Irish populations
Irish roots grow strong and wide beyond the Emerald Isle.
St. Patrick’s Day is such a global affair thanks to the millions of people of Irish descent who have brought their culture to various areas around the world.
Outside of Ireland, there are many countries that boast large percentages of their population who can trace their lineage back to Ireland. Since 1800, it is estimated some 10 million Irish emigrated from Ireland. The Irish government says that 70 million people across the globe can claim Irish heritage or ancestry – a mighty accomplishment for an island that boasts only six million people.
This Irish diaspora has interested historians for decades. Perhaps one of the largest emigrations of Irish people occurred during The Great Hunger, also known as The Great Potato Famine, when disease and starvation decimated the Irish population. Many left Ireland between 1845 and 1849 as a result of this famine. During this time, it is believed that Ireland’s population decreased by 20 to 25 percent due to mortality and emigration.
The Department of Foreign Affairs as well as individual countries’ census bureaus have tracked fluctuations in populations, including Irish immigrants. Here’s a look at the countries that boast the largest Irish populations as of 2015, courtesy of the United National Department of Economic and Social Affairs. These figures account for Irish citizens and foreign-born of Irish ancestry.
1. United Kingdom: With around 500,000 people of Irish descent, the UK, Ireland’s closest neighbor, is home to more people of Irish heritage than any country other than Ireland itself. Most live in Northern Island and surrounding British Isles.
2. United States: The United States has long been and remains a popular destination for Irish immigrants. Around 130,000 people claim Irish heritage across the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey reveals details on where the Irish tend to congregate in America, with the largest pockets in the Northeast. Massachusetts is by far the most Irish state in the nation. However, the community of Breezy Point/Rockaways in Queens, NY, is the neighborhood with the highest percentage of Irish Americans.
3. Australia: Australia is home to the third largest population of people of Irish descent not living in Ireland, with roughly 10 percent of the population tracing their heritage back to the Emerald Isle. The Sydney Opera House becomes illuminated in green each year in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
4. Canada: This North American country also has its fair share of people with Irish ancestry. Canada boasts 33,530 people who trace their heritage back to Ireland.
5. Spain: Rounding out the top five, Spain has a considerable Irish population, with around 14,000 people claiming Irish heritage. In fact, a region of Spain that became modern day Galicia is considered the seventh of the original Celtic nations.
Those of Irish heritage have settled all across the world, helping to spread the culture of Ireland far and wide.
Article Compliments of Metro Creative. TF183791 First published February 28, 2019. Last updated or republished March 9, 2020.