How Did it Begin?
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.
By the Numbers
2.5 million: In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation. Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970
313.9 million: The nation’s estimated population on this July Fourth. Source: Population Clock
$3.6 million: In 2011, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags. The vast majority of this amount ($3.3 million) was for U.S. flags made in China. Source: Foreign Trade Statistics
$663,071: Dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2011. Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $80,349 worth. Source: Foreign Trade Statistics
$231.8 million: The value of U.S. manufacturers’ shipments of fireworks and pyrotechnics (including flares, igniters, etc.) in 2007. Source: 2007 Economic Census, Series EC0731SP1, Products and Services Code 325998J108
Patriotic-Sounding Place Names
- Thirty-one places have “liberty” in their names. The most populous one as of April 1, 2010, was Liberty, Mo. (29,149). Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.
- Thirty-five places have “eagle” in their names. The most populous one is Eagle Pass, Texas, with a population of 26,248.
- Eleven places have “independence” in their names. The most populous one is Independence, Mo., with a population of 116,830.
- Source: American FactFinder
Fourth of July Cookouts
Almost 1 in 3 The chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages consumed on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa. The Hawkeye State was home to 19.7 million hogs and pigs on March 1, 2012. This estimate represents almost one-third of the nation’s estimated total. North Carolina (8.6 million) and Minnesota (7.6 million) were also homes to large numbers of pigs. Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
Please Pass the Potato: Potato salad and potato chips are popular food items at Fourth of July barbecues. Approximately half of the nation’s spuds were produced in Idaho or Washington state in 2011. Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service