Thanksgiving 2010 by the Numbers

Wondering whether the annual U.S. turkey deficit will rise this year? Want to know which towns are named after your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Find out in our latest roundup of fun facts about Thanksgiving meals, travel and shopping.

Thanksgiving is the time of year when we get to do what matters most: spend time with friends and family, remember what we’re grateful for and eat ourselves unconscious. Whether you’re traveling across the country this holiday season or keeping it local, try to make the most of your time off, even if that means napping on the couch in front of a football game or the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:

The days following Thanksgiving are also crucially important for retailers, and many businesses are hoping holiday consumer spending will give them something to be thankful for this year.

Check out some of the fascinating statistics behind Turkey Day and learn just how bountiful this holiday can be.


117 Million
Number of households in the U.S., all potential gathering spots for holiday festivities
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2009

Number of places in the United States named after Thanksgiving’s main dish, the most populous being Turkey, Tex. with 445 residents, followed by Turkey Creek, La. and Turkey, N.C.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder and Population Estimates

242 Million
Number of turkeys expected to be raised in the U.S. in 2010, down 2 percent from 2009
Source: USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service

47 Million
Preliminary estimate of the number of turkeys to be raised this year in Minnesota, the country’s largest turkey production state, followed by North Carolina (31.0 million), Arkansas (28.0 million) and Missouri (17.5 million).
Source: Ibid

7.1 Billion Lbs.
Total weight of all turkeys raised in the U.S. in 2009
Source: Ibid

13.8 Lbs.
Average quantity of turkey consumed by a typical American in 2007
Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Statistical Abstract of the United States

$4.1 Billion
Forecast 2010 receipts to farmers from turkey sales, up from $3.8 billion in 2009
Source: USDA’s Economic Research Service

$7.3 Million
Value of U.S. imports of live turkeys from January to July of 2010, the vast majority (99.1 percent) from Canada
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Statistics

$3.9 Million
Value of the U.S. trade deficit in live turkeys for the first seven months of the year, down from $5.8 million over the same period last year
Source: Ibid

Average retail cost per pound of a frozen turkey in 2008
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Statistical Abstract of the United States

Number of places and townships in the U.S. named after the cranberry, the most populous being Cranberry township, Pa. with 27,560 residents
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder and Population Estimates

735 Million Lbs.
Forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2010
Source: USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service

435 Million Lbs.
Estimated amount of cranberries produced this year in Wisconsin, the leading cranberry-providing state, followed by Massachusetts (195 million lbs.)
Source: Ibid

1.9 Billion Lbs.
Total weight of sweet potatoes available from sweet potato-producing states in 2009, led by North Carolina (940 million lbs.)
Source: Ibid

$31.5 Million
Value of the U.S. trade surplus in sweet potatoes for the first seven months of the year
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Statistics


42.2 Million
Number of travelers planning to journey more than 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving holiday, up 11.4 percent from 37.9 million travelers last year
Source: AAA

39.7 Million
Number of people planning to reach their destination by car, 94 percent of all Thanksgiving travelers and 12 percent more than last year
Source: Ibid

24 Million
Number of travelers expected to travel by air in the 12-day period from Nov. 19 to Nov. 30, up 3.5 percent from the same period in 2009
Source: Air Transport Association

Percentage of travelers expected to use non-air and motor vehicle transport this holiday, including rail, bus and watercraft
Source: AAA

816 Miles
Average distance expected to be traveled by Americans this Thanksgiving holiday, relatively unchanged from last year
Source: Ibid

Median amount Americans will spend on travel this Thanksgiving, roughly the same as last year
Source: Ibid

82 Percent
Portion of survey respondents reporting that the main purpose of their trip this year was to spend time with family or friends
Source: Ibid


138 Million
Number of consumers planning to shop during Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving), up from 134 million last year
Source: National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2010 Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey

Percentage of retailers planning to send a special e-mail to customers about their Black Friday deals
Source: Ibid

Percentage of shoppers for whom sales or price discounts were the most important factors in their holiday shopping plans
Source: NRF’s 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey

Portion of adults planning to start their holiday shopping in November
Source: Ibid

Average amount shoppers spent on gifts during Black Friday weekend in 2009, with total spending reaching $41.2 billion
Source: NRF’s 2009 Black Friday Weekend Survey

Percentage of shoppers on Black Friday last year who purchased clothing, the most popular item, followed by books (40.3 percent), sporting goods (12.6 percent), personal care or beauty items (22.4 percent) and gift cards (21.2 percent)
Source: Ibid

Percentage of shoppers who were at stores by 5 a.m. on Black Friday last year, up from 23.3 percent in 2008
Source: Ibid

96.5 Million
Number of Americans who shopped online during Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving — in 2009
Source: 2009 Survey

Percentage of retailers who will offer a special promotion for Cyber Monday this year
Source: 2010 eHoliday Survey

70.1 Million
Number of employees expected to shop online at the office on Cyber Monday this year
Source: Ibid

In observance of Thanksgiving, IMT will be shuttered on Thursday and Friday this week. We’ll return immediately after the holiday weekend with our Weekly Industry Crib Sheet. Until then, we wish all our readers a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


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