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Thanksgiving 2009: Facts and figures

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving.

Holiday_photo1 What’s happening in American on Thanksgiving 2009? Here's a rundown on the numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

117 million

Number of households across the nation – all potential gathering places for people to celebrate the holiday.

250 million

An estimate of turkeys raised in the U.S. in 2009. That’s down 8 percent from 2008. The turkeys produced in 2008 weighed 7.9 billion pounds and were valued at $4.5 billion.

Food

45.5 million

An estimate of turkeys Minnesota expected to raise in 2009. The top turkey state is followed by North Carolina – 37.5 million; Arkansas – 28 million; Missouri – 21 million; Virginia – 16.4 million; and California – 15 million. The six states account for about two-thirds of U.S. turkeys produced in 2009.

709 million pounds

The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2009. Wisconsin is expected to lead all states with 400 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts with 190 million. New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington are also will be large producers, growing from 16 million to 54 million pounds.

1.8 billion pounds

The total weight of sweet potatoes produced in 2008 by major states that grow them. North Carolina, with 874 million pounds, produced the most sweet potatoes followed by California with 437 million pounds and Mississippi with 335 million pounds.

1.1 billion pounds

Total production of pumpkins produced in the major pumpkin-producing states in 2008. Illinois led the country with 496 million pounds. California, Pennsylvania, and New York each produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all pumpkins grown by major pumpkin-producing states was $141 million.

794,777 tons

The 2008 production of snap green beans in the major states that grow them. Of this total, Wisconsin led all states with 320,200 tons.

The turkey industry

$3.8 billion

Forecast 2009 receipts to farmers from turkey sales.

Price

$1.33

Retail cost per pound of a frozen whole turkey in December 2008.

Places with Thanksgiving names

Three

Number of places in the U.S. named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey, Texas, was the most populous in 2008, with 456 residents, followed by Turkey Creek, La. – 361 – and Turkey, N.C. – 272. There are also nine townships around the country named Turkey, three in Kansas.

Five

Number of places and townships in the U.S. that are named Cranberry or some spelling variation of the berry (for example, Cranbury, N.J.). Cranberry township in Butler County, Pa., was the most populous of these places in 2008, with 27,194 residents. Cranberry township in Venango County, Pa., was next with a population of 6,795.

28

Number of places in the U.S. named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous, with 71,486 residents in 2008; Plymouth, Mass., had 55,705. Just one township in the U.S. is named "Pilgrim." Located in Dade County, Mo., its population was 128 in 2008. The population of Mayflower, Ark., was 2,231 in 2008.

Whatever your Thanksgiving traditions, I hope you have a day of love, peace, and joy.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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