On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to becoming a sovereign nation. Americans celebrate the holidays with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, and concerts to family gatherings and barbecues across the country.
Americans are expected to spend $7.1 billion on cookouts and picnics as they celebrate Independence Day this year, up from $6.8 billion in 2016, a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation found. s Two-thirds of those interviewed plan to take part in a cookout or picnic, spending an average $73.42.
This Independence Day, a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home, taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails, and waterways, according to AAA Travel. With 1.25 million more travelers than last year, 2017 is the most traveled Independence Day holiday weekend ever, a 2.9 percent increase over 2016.
- 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.
- 3.44 million people are flying this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 4.6 percent over last year.
- 3.27 million travelers, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains, and buses.
The national average gas price is 4 cents cheaper than this same time last year and is a contributing factor to the increase in travelers on the roads this Independence Day.
Travelers can expect lower prices for airfares and car rentals this Independence Day weekend. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 10 percent lower this year, with an average round trip ticket landing at $186. Daily car rental rates will average $65, which is 14 percent less than last Independence Day. Hotel costs are the same as last year.
Facts and figures
The U.S. Census Bureau offers these facts and figures about Americans this Fourth of July:
In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.
The nation’s estimated population on July 4, 2016.
The number of signers to the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston made up the Committee of Five that drafted the declaration. Jefferson, the strongest and most eloquent writer, wrote most of the document.
John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress, was the first signer, and a merchant by trade.
Benjamin Franklin, who represented Pennsylvania, was the oldest of the signers at age 70. Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina, was the youngest at age 26.
Two future presidents signed, John Adams – the second president – and Thomas Jefferson – the third president. Both died on the 50th anniversary of signing the declaration, July 4, 1826.
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.
Representing Georgia in 1776 were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton.
Charles Carroll, who represented Maryland, was the last surviving signer of the declaration. He died in 1832 at the age of 95.
Roger Sherman, who worked as a land surveyor and lawyer, represented Connecticut.
Thomas Nelson Jr. and George Wythe were two of the six signers who represented the state of Virginia.
The value of fireworks imported from China in 2016, most of U.S. fireworks imported, $307.8 million. U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $10 million in the same year.
The value of fireworks sales by retailers in 2012.
The value of U.S. imports of American flags in 2016. Most of this amount, $5.3 million, was imported from China.
The value of U.S. flags exported in 2016. Most of the U.S. flags exported to Mexico, $26.1 million.
The number of counties and census incorporated places that contain the word “liberty” in the name. Of the 33 areas, four are counties: Liberty County, Texas, 81,704; Liberty County, Georgia, 62,570; Liberty County, Florida, 8,202; and Liberty County, Montana, 2,409.
The number of incorporated places that has “patriot” in its name: Patriot town, Indiana, has an estimated population of 208.
The number of counties that have “union” in the name. Of the 18 counties, the three largest in population are: Union County, New Jersey, 555,630; Union County, North Carolina, 226,606; and Union County, Ohio, 55,457.
The value of trade between the United States and the United Kingdom in 2016, making the British adversary of 1776 the seventh-leading trading partner today.
The number of people reporting English ancestry in the United States. People claiming English ancestry ranked third behind those claiming German, 45,526,331, and Irish ancestry, 32,713,324.