By Rita R. Robison
What are your plans for the Fourth of July?
More than 160 million people, or 68 percent of Americans who plan to take part in July Fourth festivities, will celebrate the holiday by hosting or attending a cookout/barbecue and/or picnic – the most in history of an annual Independence Day survey by the National Retail Federation.
As for fireworks, nearly half of those celebrating this year, or 115 million people, will attend a fireworks or community celebration, and another 35 million will attend a parade.
On patriotic spending, more than 48 million people, 23 percent, said in the federation survey they intend to buy additional patriotic merchandise within the next 30 days, up from the 20 percent last year.
If you're looking for bargains, dealnews.com says prices are dropping on sandals, grills, and tools. However, consumers can expect to see lower prices on these items later in the year.
Watch out for so-called "Black Friday in July" sales, warns dealnews.com. Few of these sales offer the rock-bottom prices of the famous pre-holiday sales.
On travel, AAA projects 42 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend, about a 5 percent increase over the 40 million people who traveled last year. This holiday travel volume will tie the past decade’s previous high mark set in 2007 and is nearly a 42 percent increase from 2009.
The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8.
Since July 4 falls on a Wednesday, 54 percent of people planning to travel this holiday said in a survey they will begin their trip prior to the start of the July 4 work-week.
The price of gasoline is another factor expected to increase the amount of travel this Independence Day holiday. On April 6, motorists saw a peak average price of $3.94 per gallon for regular gasoline. The current national average price of regular gasoline is $3.50 per gallon, 44 cents lower than the April peak and 16 cents less than this time last year.
According to a survey of July Fourth travelers, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Independence Day holiday weekend is expected to be 723 miles, up 150 miles from last year’s average 573 miles, reports AAA. The increase in expected air travel is a factor in lifting the average travel distance as air trips typically span a longer distance than automobile trips.
In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.
The nation's estimated population on this July Fourth.
The value of fireworks imported from China in 2011, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported – $223.4 million. U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $15.8 million in 2011, with Australia purchasing more than any other country – $4.5 million.
Patriotic-sounding place names
Thirty-one places have “liberty” in their names. The one with the most population as of April 1, 2010, is 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 city with the most population is Independence, Mo., with 116,830 residents.
Nine places have “freedom” in their names. The most populous one is New Freedom, Pa., with 4,464 residents.
One place has “patriot” in its name; Patriot, Ind., with a population of 209.
Five places have “America” in their names. The biggest is American Fork, Utah, with a population of 26,263.
Early presidential last names
Ranking of the frequency of the last name of our first president, George Washington, among all last names counted in the 2000 Census. Other early presidential names that appear on the list, along with their ranking, are Adams, 39; Jefferson, 594; Madison, 1,209; and Monroe, 567.