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5 Top Neighborhoods Where The Irish Live

March 13, 2015 | By

Irish Americans across the country will dye their waters green and break out the shamrock derby hats in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, which takes place on March 17th.

Twenty-two million of us – 7.2% of the population – say our “primary ancestry” is Irish, according to the Census’ American Community Survey, with another 13.5 million Americans claiming partial Irish ancestry. Together that adds up to 35.5 million Americans — or 11.6% of the population.

That’s a lot of people, especially when you consider that Ireland’s population today is 6.4 million.

Some regions of the U.S. can boast having more Irish (and partially Irish) people than others, says Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. Kolko has put together an interactive map using Census data that allows people to choose any locale to view the percentage of people living there who say they’re Irish.

Kolko’s maps of greater Boston, New York, and Philadelphia show that the most Irish neighborhoods tend to be in the suburbs, while the central parts of these cities are much less Irish.

Green Neighbors

The neighborhood (Zip Code 11697) with the most Irish people in the U.S. is Breezy Point, at the southern end of Queens, New York, where 54.3 percent of the population claims Irish ancestry. Its Cois Farraige (Gaelic for “beside the sea”) community remains very connected with Ireland, having received support from Éire after both 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. Just 22 miles from Lower Manhattan, the neighborhood’s 1.9 square miles pack in nearly 3,000 homes.

Max Talbot-Minkin

A portion of the Chicago River is dyed green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. (Max Talbot-Minkin)

Long Island’s Point Lookout neighborhood (11569) has the second highest concentration of Irish in the U.S. at 45.6%. On its quaint main street, people walk or ride a bike to where they need to go. “It’s a small town with very strong traditions and Irish roots,” says Jack T. Heneghan, who owns J.A. Heneghan’s Tavern in Point Lookout along with his two brothers.

Pearl River, another New York suburb (10965), comes in as the third most-Irish neighborhood  with 43.4 percent Irish. Many residents will take part in the Pearl River St. Patrick’s Day parade this coming Sunday, the second largest in New York State.

Mount Greenwood in southwest Chicago (60655) is fourth on Trulia’s lists, with 40.7 percent Irish and “shamrocks on nearly every bar, restaurant and small business.”

Fifth on the list is the Boston suburb of Walpole (02081) with 40% Irish. In Walpole, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated last Saturday with a parade and community luncheon sponsored by The Friends of St. Patrick. (View top 10 lists)

But that’s not to say those are the only neighborhoods where the Irish-Americans are living in the U.S. At least 5 percent of the population in most counties across the U.S., and 10% or more in most of New England, New York state, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and other smaller counties across the country, have residents of Irish ancestry, says Kolko.

At the other extreme, Miami is just 1% Irish, but even there residents will turn the town green this week.

New Faces, Same Places

Interestingly, as the Irish continue to immigrate to America, they move into the same neighborhoods favored by earlier generations, according to Trulia. “People from Ireland tend to search for homes in places where more Irish-Americans live,” writes Kolko.

They also favor many of the same locales for purchasing vacation homes, keeping those areas very “green” and ready for a little cóisir (party) on March 17. “America’s most Irish towns today are likely to remain strongly Irish for many St. Patrick Days to come,” Kolko says.

Source: “America’s Most Irish Towns,” by Trulia’s Chief Economist Jeff Kolko, March 13, 2013.

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