July 4th: America's Birthday By the Numbers

While you enjoyed all of the food you ate this past Fourth of July, did you stop to consider where that delicious meal came from?

July 4th in Numbers

On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country.

In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly-independent nation was 2.5 million, On July 4, 2010, it was about 309.6 million.

How Do You Plan to Celebrate July 4th This Year?

Cookout, barbecue or picnic was the celebration of choice for 62.6 percent in 2009 and 61.9 percent in 2010. Fireworks or a community celebration was attended by 42.7 percent in 2009 and 42.4 percent in 2010. In 2009, 11.5 percent attended a parade, with 12.2 percent doing so in 2010. Travel or a vacation was chosen by 11.4 percent in 2009 and 11.7 percent in 2010. Other celebrations involved 11.7 percent in 2009 and 11.2 percent in 2010. In 2009, 12.8 did not celebrate, with 12.2 percent not celebrating in 2010.

Survey: How Americans Celebrate Independence Day


In 2009, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags was $3 million. The vast majority of this amount ($2.5 million) was for U.S. flags made in China. The dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2009 was $320,277. Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $333,882 worth. The annual dollar value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation's manufacturers was more than $300 million, according to the latest published economic census data.


The value of fireworks imported from China in 2009 was $209 million, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($217 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $42.9 million in 2009, with the United Arab Emirates purchasing more than any other country ($14.5 million). The value of U.S. manufacturers shipments of fireworks and pyrotechnics in 2007 was more than $331 million.

Total Spent on Various Holiday Items in Millions of Dollars in 2009

Fireworks: $600

Beer: $341.4

Mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard: $203

Hamburger patties: $193.6

Watermelon: $167.5

Lettuce, tomatoes, relish and onions: $161.5

Charcoal: $111.1

Popsicles: $111.1

Sodas: $101

Lighter fluid: $94.3

Chips: $92

Hamburger and hotdog buns: $70.4

Dips: $63

Where Your Meats Come From

There is a more than 1 in 4 chance that the hotdogs and pork sausages you consume on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa. The Hawkeye State was home to 18.9 million hogs and pigs on March 1, 2010. This represents more than one-fourth of the nation's total. North Carolina (9.1 million) and Minnesota (7.2 million) were the runners-up.

Six states produced $1 billion or more from broiler chicken production in between December 2007 and November 2008. There is a good chance that Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi or Texas is the source of your barbecue's chicken.

The total production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2008 was 6.5 billion pounds. Chances are that the beef hotdogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which accounted for about one-sixth of the nation's total production. Nebraska was number two with 4.6 billion pounds and Kansas was number three with 3.9 billion pounds.

Please Pass the Potato Salad

Potato salad and potato chips are popular food items at Fourth of July barbecues. Half of the nation's spuds were produced in Idaho or Washington state in 2009.

4th of July Spending in 2017

More than Three-fourths of the nation's head lettuce production in 2009 came from California. This lettuce may end up in your salad or on your burger.

Another popular Fourth of July side dish is corn on the cob. Florida, California, Georgia, Washington and New York together accounted for 66 percent of the fresh market sweet corn produced nationally in 2009.

The odds that your side dish of baked beans originated from North Dakota are about one in three. The state produced 34 percent of the nation's dry, edible beans in 2009.

Florida led the nation in watermelon production last year with 818 million pounds. Other leading producers of this popular fruit included California, Georgia and Texas with more than 500 million pounds.

There is a 7 in 10 chance that the fresh tomatoes in your salad came from Florida or California. Combined, they account for 70 percent of the U.S. fresh market tomato production last year. The ketchup on your burger or hotdog probably came from California, which accounted for 95 percent of processed tomato production in 2009.

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