Written By Andrew Soergel,
AS SURE AS THE SUN SETS and the moon rises, the Fourth of July rolls around every year as a 24-hour testament to American freedom – complete with hot dogs, fireworks and all things red, white and blue.
The Declaration of Independence, a document signed by 56 of America’s founding fathers effectively proclaiming independence from English rule, was approved by the Continental Congress 239 years ago this week. And although much has changed in America over nearly two and a half centuries, one would be hard pressed to find a U.S. citizen today who isn’t at least aware of the anniversary of the Declaration’s adoption.
Fourth of July celebrations vary across the country, but there are four basic certainties that are hard to escape. U.S. News breaks down the top stats you need to know for Independence Day.
More people are expected to travel this Fourth of July than on any other Independence Day weekend since 2007.
SOURCE: AAA/IHS INDEPENDENCE DAY HOLIDAY FORECAST
41.9 Million: Number of People Travelling at Least 50 Miles
Nearly 42 million people will venture at least 50 miles from home to celebrate the Fourth, up 0.7 percent from last year, according to AAA. Should this projection hold true, it would be the most travellers on any Fourth of July weekend since 2007.
“Students all across the nation are also celebrating freedom from homework, making this an ideal time for a family vacation. Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday for this reason,” Marshall Doney, AAA’s president, said in a statement last week. “Overall, Americans are planning to travel in record numbers.”
35.5 Million: Number of People Travelling by Car
Another 3.2 million will fly to their respective destinations. Boats, trains and buses will carry about 3.2 million people.
And although gas prices have started solidifying in recent months (which wasn’t entirely unexpected, considering they tend to creep up in the summer), the average price for a gallon of gas on the Fourth is expected to be the cheapest this year in at least five years, according to AAA.
150 Million: Number of Hot Dogs Consumed Over the Weekend
Americans are expected to chow down on 150 million hot dogs over the course of the holiday weekend, according to a statement released Tuesday by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. That’s enough hot dogs to stretch from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles five times (with a few dogs to spare).
About 700 million pounds of chicken are purchased in the U.S. during the week leading up to Independence Day, and 190 million pounds of beef are snatched up in the two weeks preceding the Fourth, according to MarketResearch.com. Total spending on food is expected to reach $6.6 billion this holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.
Beer sales also tend to shoot up like fireworks as the Fourth of July approaches. More than 103 million Americans drank beer on 2013’s Independence Day, with more than 68 million cases sold over the weekend.
69: World Record for Hot Dogs Eaten in 10 Minutes
Presumably, contestants in Coney Island, New York’s annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will save some dogs for the rest of the country. The almost superhuman digestive systems of competitive eaters are put to the test each year as contenders scarf down as many hot dogs as they can in 10 minutes. Joey Chestnut, the 8-time world hot dog eating champion, ate 69 dogs back in 2013, which breaks down to roughly one hot dog consumed every 8.5 seconds.
SOURCE: NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
$247.1 Million: Value of Fireworks From China
China provides the U.S. with the bulk of this Independence Day necessity. Of the $257.8 million in fireworks America imported in 2014, $247.1 million (about 95.8 percent) comes from China, according to the Census Bureau.
About 42.6 percent (103 million) of the people celebrating the Fourth this year will attend a fireworks display or community party, while 11.5 percent (27 million) will watch a parade, according to the National Retail Federation.
10,500: Number of People Injured by Fireworks in 2014
Fireworks safety is important each Fourth of July, as thousands of people are injured each year by fireworks displays gone wrong. And nearly a dozen people died last year in incidents related to fireworks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Considering even seemingly-harmless sparklers burn at temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, exercising caution this holiday weekend can go a long way toward preventing injury.
$3.6 Million: Amount of American Flag Imports
Millions of American flags are actually manufactured abroad. Nearly all of them – 97 percent – came from China last year, which sold us $3.5 million worth.
The U.S. exports plenty of flags as well. Turkey happens to be the biggest buyer of American-made flags, having purchased $673,000 worth from the U.S. last year.
48 Million: Consumers Shopping for Red, White and Blue
More than 48 million Americans will be shopping for decorations, apparel and party supplies this Independence Day, with average household spending jumping up to $71.23 – 4.5 percent higher than 2014’s $68.16 per household.
“Consumers this summer and for the 4th of July will take advantage of lower gas prices to head to the beach or get together with family– something they’ve had to think long and hard about in recent years with higher energy costs and limited budgets,” Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at Prosper Insights & Analytics, said in a statement accompanying the National Retail Federation report.
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