According to the US Census Bureau there are 33.1M Americans who claim Irish ancestry. (Our #1 claimed ancestry is German, African Am is #2 with Irish being #3.) Michiganders have a 10%-11% Irish ancestry. German is the #1, African Am. is #2, and Irish #3.

Within the last few days we have seen TV commercials for Guinness & Irish Spring. Both were set in Ireland and touting their Irishness. We imagine that they are meant to provoke buying thoughts in the almost 90% (285 M) of us who are NOT of Irish origin. My siblings and I remember our mother (maiden name Marcolini) weaving a green tale to us of how one of our great uncles was a bishop in IRE (ie giving us some claim to St. Paddy’s Day). We, at the Scope, always love to look at the NRF study of St. Pat’s Day spending b/c of the #s, themselves. To some extent it helps root the expressions that we hear from time to time around 3/17. “There are 2 kinds of people, those who are Irish and those who wish they were.” If current demographers are correct there are 33.1M adult Americans who claim Irish ancestry (as if there was an Irish dipstick inserted in us as a thermometer that would permit each of us to claim such ancestry pending whether we’re ¼ full, ½ full, etc.). The aforementioned NRF study gives us interesting info. Here’s their dipstick.

Almost 125.5M of adults or (51.2%) of the surveyed & estimated said they were going to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day. If kids reflect their parents in celebration (and/ or in ancestry), it seems that about 163M Americans (assuming a 320 M population) would be celebrating St. Pat’s Day on 3/17/16. Whether 125 ½ M or 163 M, these #s are fascinating since there are ONLY 33.1M Americans who claim Irish ancestry. No matter the #s b/c 90% of ALL adults say that they’ll be spending on St. Pat’s Day. Their net avg will be $35.37± and that will total $4.44B. Whatever your ancestry or mine that’s REAL GREEN!

The TOP 3 spending categories (NRF) are:

  •  56% on food & bevs
  • 28% on apparel or accessories
  • 23% on decorations

The TOP 3 spending venues (NRF) are:

  • 36% Grocery stores
  • 30% Discounters
  • 21% Bars/ Restaurants

Beside ancestry, St. Pat’s Day spending, Irish coffee, Irish beer, etc, the US is tied to IRE in many other ways, too, including our trade relationship. Of the 238 nations that are the US’ trade partners, IRE is #29 with an export partnership of $8.94 B. Ireland is our 14th biggest import partner ($39.35 B) with a Bal of Trade of -$30.40 B.

FINALLY, it is interesting to note that while 125 ½ – 163 M Americans will celebrate St. Pat’s Day even though there are only 33.1 M Irish Americans and but 4.6 M Irishmen populating IRE.


About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s