The Fourth Facts


On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, starting 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.

293 million
Projected number of U.S. residents on this July 4th. Back in July 1776, there were about 2.5 million people living in the colonies.

The Fourth of July Cookout
150 million

Number of hot dogs expected to be consumed by Americans on the Fourth. (That’s one frankfurter for every two people.) There’s about a 1-in-4 chance the hot dogs originated in Iowa, as the Hawkeye State had a total inventory of 15.5 million hogs and pigs on March 1, 2004. This represents about one-fourth of the nation’s total. Data on hot dog consumption courtesy of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. Data on hogs and pigs at

7.8 billion pounds
Total production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2003. Chances are that the beef on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which accounted for roughly one-fifth of the nation’s total production.

6 Number of states in which the value of chicken broilers was $1 billion or greater in 2003. One of these states — Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina, Mississippi or Texas — is probably the source of your barbecued chicken.

The odds that the beans in your side dish of baked beans or pork and beans came from North Dakota, which produced about one-third of the nation’s dry, edible beans in 2003.

More than one-third
Amount of the nation’s spuds produced in Idaho or Washington in 2003. Potato salad, potato chips and fries are all popular side dishes at July 4th barbecues.

Nearly 67 million
Number of Americans who said they have taken part in a barbecue during the previous year. It’s probably safe to assume a lot of these events took place on the Fourth. See Table 1244:

$157.2 million

The value of fireworks imported from China in 2003 representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imports ($163.1 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $14.4 million in 2003, with Japan purchasing more than any other country ($5.3 million).

$6.0 million

The dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags in 2003; well over half of this amount ($4.5 million) was for U.S. flags made in China. This was down from the 2001 dollar value of U.S. flag imports ($51.7 million), but still considerably higher than the total for 2000 ($747,800). That was the last full year before Sept. 11.

Dollar value of U.S. flag exports in 2003. Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $131,000 worth.

Number of U.S. flags flown over the U.S. Capitol last year at the request of House and Senate members. On July 4 alone, more than 900 were flown at our nation’s capitol. (Source: U.S. Capitol Flag Room.)

$272 million
Annual dollar value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation’s manufacturers, according to the latest published economic census (1997) data.

Patriotic-Sounding Places
Number of places nationwide with “liberty” in their name. The most populous one is Liberty, Mo. (27,532). Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.

  • Eleven places have “independence” in their name. The most populous of these is Independence, Mo., with 113,027 residents.

  • Five places adopted the name “freedom.” Freedom, Calif., with 6,000 residents, has the largest population among these.

  • There is one place named “patriot” — Patriot, Ind., with a population of 199.

  • And what could be more fitting than spending the Fourth of July in a place called “America”? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, population 22,501.

Coming to America
33 million

The number of foreign-born residents in the United States in 2002; they accounted for 11.8 percent of the nation’s total population.

9.2 million
California’s foreign-born population.

Percentage of the nation’s foreign-born population born in Latin America.

1.1 million
Number of immigrants granted legal permanent residence in the United States during fiscal year 2002.

Number of people who became naturalized U.S. citizens during fiscal 2002. July 4th is a popular day for swearing in new U.S. citizens. Mexico contributed the highest number of naturalized citizens (76,531) followed by Vietnam (36,835), India (33,774), China (32,018) and the Philippines (30,487).

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