The Fourth of July: By the Numbers
Image: Financial Content
Image: Financial Content

On Wednesday, the United States celebrates its 236th birthday, commemorating the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence and set the colonies on the march to freedom. Here we look at how Americans today celebrate the historic occasion through fun, fireworks, food and travel.

Many things have changed since America’s first birthday: the borders have expanded, the population has soared and the economy has become the largest in the world. But our sense of patriotism and appreciation for life in the United States remains as strong as ever, as evidenced by the many celebrations expected across the nation this July 4th.

The size and scale of the festivities planned for Independence Day showcase just how much the holiday means to us, and how big an impact it will have on the economy.


2.5 Million
Estimated number of people living in the newly independent U.S. in July 1776
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s Historical Statistics of the United States 1789-1945

313.9 Million
Estimated number of people living in the U.S. on Independence Day 2012
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Clock

Number of Americans with the last name “Washington”
Source: Financial Content

Percentage of U.S. families that owned an American flag in 2011
Source: National Retail Federation’s 2011 Independence Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey

Number of American flags flown over the U.S. Capitol last year, with 1,200 flags flown over Washington, D.C., on July 4th alone
Source: VA Home Loans

$302.7 Million
Annual value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation’s manufacturers, based on the latest data available
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Economic Census

$3.6 Million
Value of U.S. flags imported in 2011, with the majority ($3.3 million) of imported flags made in China
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Statistics

Value of U.S. flags exported in 2011, with Mexico as the leading customer, purchasing $80,349 worth
Source: Ibid

$649 Million
Total revenue from the consumer fireworks industry in 2011, with an additional $318 million generated by the display fireworks industry
Source: American Pyrotechnics Association

$231.8 Million
Total value of manufacturers’ shipments of fireworks and pyrotechnics (including flares, igniters, etc.), based on the latest available data
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Economic Census

$232.3 Million
Value of fireworks imported from China in 2011, compared to $15.8 million in U.S. exports of fireworks
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Statistics

Number of fireworks-related injuries reported nationwide last year
Source: VA Home Loans


42.3 Million
Number of Americans who will travel 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day weekend, up 4.9 percent from last year
Source: AAA’s Projection for Independence Day Holiday Travel

723 Miles
Average travel distance expected for this year’s Independence Day holiday weekend, 150 miles more than last year’s average
Source: Ibid

Median amount expected to be spent by July 4th holiday travelers this year, a 7 percent decrease from 2011
Source: Ibid

35.5 Million
Number of people who plan to travel by automobile over the July 4th holiday, a 4 percent increase from 2011 and marking a 10-year peak
Source: Ibid

Current national average price of regular gasoline per gallon, 16 cents lower than in the same time last year
Source: Ibid

3.2 Million
Number of travelers who will fly during the Independence Day holiday period, a 9 percent increase over last year
Source: Ibid

Average round-trip rate for the top 40 U.S. air routes
Source: Ibid


74 Million
Number of Americans planning to barbeque this Independence Day weekend
Source: VA Home Loans

155 Million
Estimated number of hot dogs that will be consumed the July 4th weekend, enough to stretch from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., more than five times
Source: Ibid

$1.7 Billion
Amount consumers spent on hot dogs in U.S. supermarkets last year
Source: National Hot Dog & Sausage Council

Number of hot dogs consumed in 10 minutes by Joey Chestnut in his third consecutive victory at the annual Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest in Coney Island
Source: VA Home Loans

1 in 3
Chances that a hot dog or pork sausage consumed on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa, which is home to 19.7 million hogs and pigs
Source: USDA’s National Agricultural Services Statistics

7.2 Billion Lbs.
Total production weight of cattle and calves in Texas in 2011, much of which find its way to hot dogs, steaks and burgers
Source: Ibid

Percentage of the nation’s potatoes that were produced in Idaho or Washington state in 2011, many of which are turned into potato salad or potato chips for the Fourth of July
Source: Financial Content

$193 Million
Total amount spent on purchasing hamburger patties in 2009
Source: VA Home Loans

$203 Million
Total amount spent on mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard in 2009
Source: Ibid

68.3 Million
Total cases of beer sold on Independence Day weekend, the most popular holiday for beer purchases, followed by Labor Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day and Christmas
Source: Ibid

Click for larger view. Credit: Financial Content

We’ll be back with our regularly scheduled publications on July 9th. Until then, from the entire IMT staff, we wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy Independence Day weekend.



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