U.S. President Joe Biden is welcoming Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the White House today as part of a Saint Patrick’s Day tradition, celebrating the two countries' strong ties. As well as taking part in several St. Patrick’s Day events together, including the taoiseach (prime minister) gifting the U.S president a bowl of shamrock, the two leaders are expected to discuss Biden's upcoming trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland on the 25th anniversary of the U.S.-brokered Good Friday Agreement.
The United States and Ireland have long been close allies and economic partners, with a large Irish diaspora living in the U.S. In fact, the first ever parade on Saint Patrick's Day was actually held in the U.S., taking place in New York City in 1762. In 1991, Congress even designated March as Irish-American Heritage Month.
But how many U.S. citizens can actually claim Irish ancestry? According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, some 31.5 million Americans claimed Irish ancestry in 2021, accounting for 9.5 percent of the population. German ancestry is ahead, however, with 42.2 million U.S. citizens claiming ancestral links with Europe's economic powerhouse. In second place comes English ancestry, with a further 31.8 million Americans having historical familial ties with the country.