The 10 Most Irish States in America

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Young girl of Irish descent
S Curtis /

This story originally appeared on

St. Patrick’s Day is approaching.

For some, that means parades, corned beef, and avoiding being pinched. However, for others it’s more than just a fun holiday: It’s a day to honor their heritage.

While 4.9 million people call Ireland home, 32 million Americans identify as Irish.

That’s right, America is home to more Irish-Americans than Ireland is home to Irish. However, some states are far more Irish than others.

To find the states where St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just a day on the calendar but a true event, we found the states where the most residents are of Irish descent.

How We Determined This

A young woman reading carefully on her laptop /

To find the most Irish states, we turned to U.S. Census Ancestry data.

From there, we simply divided the total number of residents with Irish ancestry by the total number of residents. The higher percentage of Irish residents, the more Irish the state.

This data is self-reported, which relies on people accurately knowing their own heritage. Considering that 21% of Americans are unable to name a single great-grandparent, chances are good these results are skewed.

So we can’t guarantee there aren’t a lot of unaware Irish folks out in the Southwest, or that people in areas with a robust Irish population don’t incorrectly assume they are also Irish.

For the cities, we did a similar process, looking at cities and metro areas with more than 25,000 residents.

1. New Hampshire

New Hampshire government
Jeffrey M. Frank /

Percent Irish: 20.2%
Number of Irish residents: 272,613

New Hampshire is the most Irish state in the whole country.

An impressive 20.2% of folks in New Hampshire claim Irish ancestry. That means 1 in 5 New Hampshire residents hail from the Emerald Isle.

2. Massachusetts

Amherst College
Mark Yarchoan /

Percent Irish: 20%
Number of Irish residents: 1,354,176

While Massachusetts has lost its spot as the No. 1 most Irish state, the state is still pretty Irish.

Don’t believe me? Go to Boston on St. Patrick’s Day. Between the bars full of cheery Irish patrons and the legendary parade, it’s easy to see Massachusetts is Irish and proud.

3. Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
Jon Bilous /

Percent Irish: 18%
Number of Irish residents: 186,040

Kiss Rhode Island, because it’s pretty Irish. Fully 18% of Rhode Islanders claim to have Irish ancestors on their family tree.

4. Vermont

DonLand /

Percent Irish: 17%
Number of Irish residents: 106,139

Vermont is the fourth-most Irish state in the whole country. While we can’t guarantee they have the luck of the Irish, 17% do have Irish roots.

5. Maine

Portland, Maine
Sean Pavone /

Percent Irish: 17%
Number of Irish residents: 222,310

Raise a pint of Guinness to Maine, or at least for the 17% of Mainers of Irish ancestry. A not-insignificant 222,310 of those who live in Maine claim one Irish ancestor or more.

6. Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Sean Pavone /

Percent Irish: 16%
Number of Irish residents: 1,998,833

An impressive 16% of Pennsylvanians are of Irish ancestry.

Pennsylvania is one of only two states in the top 10 not to touch the Atlantic Ocean. Although it is worth noting the state is only about 50 miles away.

7. Connecticut

Yale University
f11photo /

Percent Irish: 15%
Number of Irish residents: 544,222

Connecticut has more than a little Irish in it.

Over half a million Connecticut residents believe they have Irish ancestry. That ends up being a shamrock green 15%.

8. Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware
Paul Brady Photography /

Percent Irish: 14%
Number of Irish residents: 133,776

The eighth-most Irish state is Delaware. Another of those coastal, Northeastern states on the list, 14% of residents identify as Irish.

9. Montana

Montana town
Nick Fox /

Percent Irish: 14%
Number of Irish residents: 144,105

Montana may bring to mind cowboys and Yogi Bear, but it should also bring to mind shamrocks because 14% of Montana residents identify as being of Irish descent.

Montana is the furthest-west state on the top 10.

10. New Jersey

Morristown, New Jersey
mandritoiu /

Percent Irish: 13%
Number of Irish residents: 1,188,978

In 10th place, but still plenty green, is New Jersey. In the Garden State, 1,188,978 folks claim Irish heritage.

What Are the Most Irish Cities?

Irish woman celebrating St. Patrick's Day
MNStudio /

Here are the more Irish cities in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, many of them are inside of the most Irish states.

  1. Ocean City, NJ – 30.22%
  2. Butte-Silver Bow, MT – 28.44%
  3. Barnstable Town, MA – 26.53%
  4. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY – 21.55%
  5. Auburn, NY – 21.49%
  6. Manchester-Nashua, NH – 20.83%
  7. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH – 20.80%
  8. Scranton–Wilkes-Barre, PA – 20.51%
  9. Syracuse, NY – 20.30%
  10. Kingston, NY – 20.29%
  11. Dubuque, IA – 19.71%
  12. Glens Falls, NY -19.64%
  13. Hudson, NY – 19.64%
  14. Oneonta, NY – 19.35%
  15. Rutland, VT – 19.12%
  16. Portland-South Portland, ME – 18.80%
  17. Bennington, VT – 18.79%
  18. Keene, NH – 18.68%
  19. Torrington, CT – 18.44%
  20. Elmira, NY – 18.39%
  21. Norwich-New London, CT – 18.38%
  22. Barre, VT – 18.30%
  23. Bradford, PA – 18.17%
  24. Pontiac, IL – 18.14%
  25. Worcester, MA – 18.07%

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.