On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million. (Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970). Since then, the population of the United States has grown to over 311 million (estimated population on this July Fourth).
Many US residents celebrate the Fourth of July with parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues with friends and relatives. In fact, 81 million Americans reported taking part in a barbecue last year (Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011).
Here are some tasty stats to help get you in the mood:
• Florida led the nation in watermelon production last year with 750 million pounds. Other leading producers of this popular fruit included California, Georgia and Texas (with more than 600 million pounds each).
• Are potato salad and potato chips on your Fourth of July barbecue menu? Approximately half of the nation’s spuds were produced in Idaho or Washington state in 2010.
• Putting lettuce on that burger? More than ¾ of the nation’s head lettuce production in 2010 came from California.
• 7 in 10: The chances that the fresh tomatoes in your salad came from Florida or California, which combined accounted for 71 percent of U.S. fresh market tomato production last year.
Do you know where the fireworks you plan to watch this weekend were produced?
• $190.7 million – The value of fireworks imported from China in 2010, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($197.3 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $37.0 million in 2010, with Japan purchasing more than any other country ($6.3 million). 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
For more Fourth of July related statistics, visit our Facts for Features.