U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Features: The Fourth of July 2015

Fourth of July

WASHINGTON – With the Fourth of July falling on Saturday this year, tribal offices, American Indian and Alaska Native organizations and other governmental offices are closed today in observation of the holiday.

While having a day off of work, many American Indians and Alaska Natives choose not to celebrate the Fourth of July. 

The following statistics are provided by the U.S. Census Bureau:

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. This most American of holidays will be marked with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues across the country.

2.5 million

In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.

321.2 million   

The nation’s estimated population on this July Fourth.

The Signers


Number of signers to the Declaration of Independence.

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston comprised the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration. Jefferson, regarded as the strongest and most eloquent writer, wrote most of the document.

It’s also worth noting that:

John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress, was the first signer. This merchant by trade did so in an entirely blank space making it the largest and most famous signature — hence the term John Hancock, which is still used today as a synonym for signature. In 2013, there were 7.5 million business establishments with paid employees in the U.S.; 1.1 million, like Hancock, were in the retail trade industry.

Benjamin Franklin (age 70), who represented Pennsylvania, was the oldest of the signers. Franklin County, Pa., had an estimated population of 152,892 as of July 1, 2014. Edward Rutledge (age 26), of South Carolina, was the youngest.

Two future presidents signed: John Adams (second President) and Thomas Jefferson (third President). Both died on the 50th anniversary of signing the Declaration (July 4, 1826). There are 12 counties nationwide named Adams and 26 named Jefferson.

Robert Livingston, who represented New York, was on the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence but was recalled by his state before he could sign it. Livingston County, New York, was home to an estimated 64,586 people as of July 1, 2014.

Representing Georgia in 1776 were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall and George Walton. Gwinnett County, Georgia (877,922), Hall County, Georgia (190,761) and Walton County, Georgia (87,615) were named for these signers.

Charles Carroll, who represented Maryland, was the last surviving signer of the Declaration. He died in 1832 at the age of 95. Carroll County, Maryland, named for him, had an estimated population of 167,830 as of July 1, 2014.

Roger Sherman, who worked as a land surveyor and lawyer, represented Connecticut. In 2013, there were an estimated 31,315 surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists employed full time, year-round, and 852,860 lawyers employed full time, year-round nationwide.

Nelson County, Virginia (14,850) and Wythe County, Virginia (29,121) were named for two of the six signers who represented the state of Virginia — Thomas Nelson Jr. and George Wythe.

And the Rockets’ Red Glare

$247.1 million

The value of fireworks imported from China in 2014, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($257.8  million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $11.9 million in 2014, with Israel purchasing more than any other country ($5.4 million).

$369.4 million

Fireworks sales by retailers in 2012.

$508.1 million

Sales of fireworks and firecrackers by wholesalers in 2012. There were 162 wholesalers who sold these items in 2012.

You’re a Grand Old Flag

$3.6 million

In 2014, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags. The vast majority of this amount ($3.5 million) was for U.S. flags made in China.

$1.8 million

Dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2014. Turkey was the leading customer, purchasing $673,000 worth.

This Land Is Your Land

Fifty-nine counties and census places contain the word “liberty” in the name. Pennsylvania, with 11, has more of these places than any other state. Of the 59 places, four are counties: Liberty County, Ga. (65,198), Liberty County, Fla. (8,360), Liberty County, Mont. (2,359) and Liberty County, Texas (78,117).

Only one census place has “patriot” in its name: Patriot, Ind., has an estimated population of 205.

The most common patriotic sounding name used within counties and census places is “union” with 137. Pennsylvania, with 33, has more of these places than any other state. Other such words most commonly used in place names are Washington (127), Franklin (118) and Lincoln (95).

The British are Coming!

$107.9 billion

Dollar value of trade in 2014 between the United States and the United Kingdom, making the British, our adversary in 1776, our seventh-leading trading partner today.


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