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St. Patrick's Day by the Numbers

St. Patrick's Day spending is expected to reach $4 billion.

| BY Donald Liebenson

When it comes to holiday consumer spending, St. Patrick’s Day must be green with envy. The National Retail Federation projects that Americans 18 years-old and over will spend a total of $4.4 billion or, an average of just over $35 per person. In comparison, total spending last year for Mother’s Day reached just over $21 billion, while Easter spending was hopping at just over $16 billion and Halloween scared up about $7 billion.

But for retailers and especially restauranteurs and bar owners, St. Patrick’s Day is the first spending holiday of the spring and an opportunity for consumers and patrons to shake off the winter doldrums. According to the NRF’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Spending Survey, almost nine-out-ten surveyed who are Millennials ages 18-24 plans on wearing green on Thurs. March 18. The highest percentage (41 percent) who plan to attend a party at a bar or restaurant are ages 25-34. This age demographic is projected to be the biggest St. Patrick’s Day spenders at an average $42.58.

WalletHub crunched the numbers for St. Patrick’s Day and finds these fun holiday facts:

  • St. Patrick’s Day ranks behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas and the Fourth of July as the year’s most popular drinking day.
  • Thirteen million pints of Guinness will be consumed worldwide on St. Patrick’s Day
  • Forty-five pounds of vegetable dye is used to turn the Chicago River green, an annual city tradition since 1962.
  • There will be a 70 percent increase in cabbage shipments during the week.
  • Boston is credited with staging the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762.

Boston, not surprisingly, ranks atop WalletHub’s survey of America’s best cities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Buffalo comes in second, followed by Omaha, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, to round out the top five. New York ranks a distant 31 and Chicago 33 on the list.

Pittsburgh, Boston, Omaha, Lincoln, NE, and Madison, WI are the surveyed big cities with the highest percent of Irish population. Seattle, Tampa, Buffalo, Madison and Atlanta are the top five cities with the most Irish pubs and restaurants per capita.

If you’re looking for the most St. Patrick’s Day parties and festivities per capita, head to Chicago, according to WalletHub. Also check out Kansas City, MO, St. Louis, Atlanta and Orlando.

About the Author

Donald Liebenson


Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.