10 countries with the most Irish emigrants

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St. Patrick's Day around the world
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10 countries with the most Irish emigrants
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: A patron celebrates St Patrick's Day at the Mercantile Hotel Irish pub on March 17, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. March 17th commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating Irish heritage and culture. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 17: Participants march in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, one of the largest and oldest in the world on March 17, 2016 in New York City. Now that a ban on openly gay groups has been dropped, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is attending the parade for the first time since he became mayor in 2014. The parade goes up Fifth Avenue ending at East 79th Street and will draw an estimated 2 million spectators along its 35-block stretch. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MARCH 17: Jason Gartner rocks a green goatee during the annual Kegs and Eggs St.Patrick's Day event, at LoDo's Bar & Grill, in downtown Denver, March 17, 2016. The event kicked off at 7 a.m. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Parade goers pose on 5th Avenue during the 255th New York City St Patrick's Day Parade on March 17, 2016. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, wearing green tinted glasses, warms up as he stands on deck in the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Fort Myers, Fla. The team wore green themed uniforms in observance of St. Patrick's Day. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A Boston Red Sox fan dresses in St. Patrick's day wear as he watches play in the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Revellers dressed as leprechauns pose for a photograph on O'Connell Street, as the largest St Patrick's day celebrations in Ireland makes its way through Dublin city centre on March 17, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
A man dressed as Saint Patrick, works his way along the crowd on O'Connell Street during the St Patrick's day parade, as the largest St Patrick's day celebrations in Ireland makes its way through Dublin city centre on March 17, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITH (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: A man wears a shamrock covered suit during St Patrick's Day at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 17, 2016 in Cheltenham, England. The four day annual jump racing event sees jockeys compete for a piece of the 4.1 million GBP of the prize money. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: A man wears a Guinness hat during St Patrick's Day at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 17, 2016 in Cheltenham, England. The four day annual jump racing event sees jockeys compete for a piece of the 4.1 million GBP of the prize money. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Patrons celebrate St Patrick's Day at the Mercantile Hotel Irish pub on March 17, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. March 17th commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating Irish heritage and culture. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: A patron celebrates St Patrick's Day at the Mercantile Hotel Irish pub on March 17, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. March 17th commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating Irish heritage and culture. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Patrons celebrate St Patrick's Day at the Mercantile Hotel Irish pub on March 17, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. March 17th commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating Irish heritage and culture. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Patrons celebrate St Patrick's Day at the Mercantile Hotel Irish pub on March 17, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. March 17th commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating Irish heritage and culture. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 15: Craig Anderson #41 of the Ottawa Senators wears a green St. Patrick's Day warm up jersey during warmup prior to an NHL game against the Minnesota Wild at Canadian Tire Centre on March 15, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Ryan O'Reilly #90 and Rasmus Ristolainen #55 of the Buffalo Sabres head to the ice in St. Patrick's Day warmup jerseys before their game against the Montreal Canadiens during an NHL game on March 16, 2016 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny pose with a bowl shamrock during a St. Patrick's Day reception at the White House in Washington, DC, on March 15, 2016. US President Barack Obama is hosting Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny two days before St. Patrick's Day due to Kenny's schedule. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 15: The fountain on the South Lawn of the White House is colored green on March 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. The fountain was dyed green in keeping with a tradition begun by the first family in 2009. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - MARCH 13: Mona the dog is dressed for the St. Patrick's Day festivities as she marches in the parade in Portland. (Photo by Jill Brady/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
LONDON, March 13, 2016 -- Two women watch the parade as it travels along Piccadilly to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in London, Britain, on March 13, 2016. (Xinhua/Ray Tang via Getty Images)
LONDON, March 13, 2016-- People watch the parade along Piccadilly to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in London, Britain, on March 13, 2016. (Xinhua/Ray Tang via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Members of the Coppell High School Marching Band take part in the St Patrick's Day parade through central London on March 13, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Revellers take part in the St Patrick's Day parade through central London on March 13, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - MARCH 12: Chicagoans lined along Upper and Lower Wacker Drive and the Riverwalk, after members of Plumbers Local 130 U.A. poured environmentally safe orange powder along the Chicago River turning it green for St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, Illinois on March 12, 2016. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - MARCH 12: (CHINA OUT) People join the Irish Feile Festival held by the Consulate General of Ireland in Shanghai on March 12, 2016 in Shanghai, China. Consulate General of Ireland in Shanghai held Feile Festival to celebrate the St. Patrick's Day which would be on March 17. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 12: General view of the atmosphere at 36th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival at Balboa Park on March 12, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MARCH 12: Members of the More Cowbell Band perform as the 2016 Denver St. Patrick's Day Parade makes its way down Blake Street in downtown Denver on Saturday, March 12, 2016. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MARCH 12: Marleen Puzak and Frech Bull Dog 'Beignet' watch as the 2016 Denver St. Patrick's Day Parade makes its way down Blake Street in downtown Denver on Saturday, March 12, 2016. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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It's the luck of the Irish – or lack thereof – that they must constantly leave their shores.

Since 1800, nearly 10 million Irish have had to leave the Emerald Isle – some only temporarily, others to grow family trees in new lands.

Today, about 70 million people claim Irish heritage or ancestry worldwide, according to the Irish government – quite a number for an island of only 6 million people. The vastness of the global Irish diaspora means St. Patrick's Day is practically an international holiday, with people popping open a Guinness and celebrating from Vancouver to Auckland.

The United Kingdom, which includes Northern Ireland, has the greatest share of Irish migrants – meaning Irish citizens or those born in Ireland, according to the United Nations. The U.K has about 500,000 Irish migrants within its borders. But many times more claim Irish ancestry. While relations between the English and Irish have sometimes been tense, its clear that the Irish have influenced their neighbor. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and writer Charlotte Brontë are among many famous Britons who can claim Irish ancestry.

The United States has the second-largest Irish migrant population, housing 132,280. But the number of people claiming Irish ancestry is nearly 35 million, according to a report by Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In Australia, home to the third-largest population of Irish migrants, about 2 million people, or 10 percent of the population, said they were of Irish descent in the 2011 census. In Canada, which also has many Irish emigrants, about 13 percent of the population claims Irish roots.

Below are the countries outside of Ireland that had the most Irish migrants in 2015, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The figures take into account foreign citizens and the foreign born; the actual number of people claiming Irish history is likely much higher.

Country Number of Irish migrants Percent of Irish diaspora
U.K. 503,288 57.1%
U.S. 132,280 15.0%
Australia 101,032 11.5%
Canada 33,530 3.8%
Spain 14,651 1.7%
South Africa 13,009 1.5%
Germany 11,373 1.3%
France 9,828 1.1%
New Zealand 9,398 1.1%
Poland 7,592 0.9%

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

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