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Not a Lot of Irish in the Desert

Not a Lot of Irish in the Desert
March 17
14:52 2017

Living in the desert, Arizonans aren’t used to seeing much green. Not only is that true when looking at the natural landscape, but also while looking around the state on St. Patrick’s Day.

According to a survey conducted by, Arizona is the 41st most likely state to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The Grand Canyon State may offer some spectacular red rock views but you’d be hard pressed to find any Irish redheads. Arizona ranks 36th in Irish density nationally, with only about 9.5% of the population having Irish blood coursing through their veins. Out of the 6,392,017 people living in the state, only 525,878 hail from the Irish Isles.

Of course, you don’t need an Irish brogue to order your pint of Guinness and shot of whiskey at whatever waterhole you frequent, in fact many wont. A 2011 Time Magazine list of the “Drunkest Holidays” saw St. Patrick’s Day come in at number two, behind only New Years Eve. Around 56% of all Americans will don their shamrocks and celebrate tonight. That equates to around 127 million Americans, more than 26 times the Republic of Ireland’s total population.

Over 82% will simply add some green to their wardrobe and call it a celebration, while 18% of Americans will pony up at the tavern. America’s bars in turn will see more gold added to their pots, according to the survey, 20% of all money spent on St. Patrick’s Day. Most of that money spent will go towards Guinness. WalletHub predicts that 13 million pints of the Irish stout will be poured. For some perspective, 13 million pints is enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools, with enough beer left over to fill 642 4-by-5-foot hot tubs! Even after the swimming pools and hot tubs are filled, 50 gallons of the dark beer would still be leftover.

Drinking is heavily associated with St. Patrick’s Day, unfortunately, that means drunk driving is as well. A report found that 276 people died in drunk-driving accidents on St. Patrick’s Day weekends between 2009 and 2013. In 2013 alone, more than a third of fatal accidents during the celebratory weekend were caused by drunk drivers. Because of the overindulgence associated with the holiday, three-fourths of the drunk-driving fatalities involved drivers who were twice the legal limit. The most dangerous time to be on the road was reported to be between the hours of midnight and 5:59 a.m.

No matter how you celebrate, be safe this St. Patrick’s Day!

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