Stats for Celebrating the Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July!Are you among the U.S. citizens planning on celebrating the Fourth of July this year? Perhaps you will be attending a parade or fireworks display, or maybe a barbecue or picnic? Maybe you’ll be decorating your home with United States flags?

Each year the U.S. Census Bureau lists some neat statistics about all the popular ways Americans typically celebrate Independence Day. I found some of the stats really interesting...for example, in 2011, some 81 million Americans said they had taken part in a barbecue the previous year (and it’s likely that a lot of these events took place on the Fourth of July).

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I compiled Fourth of July stats from 2004–2011 and placed them into a Minitab worksheet, and then created a few patriotic graphs for easier analysis.


One of the most popular ways to celebrate the Fourth of July is with fireworks, and most of the fireworks used in the U.S. are imported from China. The Time Series Plot below (Graph > Time Series Plot), shows the dollar amount of fireworks imported from China from 2004 to 2011:

Minitab Time Series Plot

(Source: Foreign Trade Statistics)

It looks like there’s an increasing trend since 2004. It’s also interesting to note that U.S. exports of fireworks are much smaller—only totaling $15.8 million in 2011.

American Flags

Most of our fireworks are imported, but the U.S. also imports many American flags. The majority of those flags are also made in China. The Time Series Plot below outlines the dollar amount of U.S. imports of American flags each year since 2004:

Minitab Time Series Plot

(Source: Foreign Trade Statistics)

I wasn’t able to find data for earlier than 2004, but my guess for the increase in flag import dollars prior to 2009 is that it might have something to do with the number of people expressing patriotic feelings after the events of September 11, 2001.

For U.S. flag exports, the Bar Chart below (Graph > Bar Chart) outlines the dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2004–2011.In 2011, Mexico was the leading customer—purchasing $80,349 worth of flags.

Minitab Bar Chart

(Source: Foreign Trade Statistics)

Other Cool Stats

• Did you know that 31 cities or towns in the U.S. have “liberty” in their names?  The most populous of those is Liberty, Mo. (29,149 people). (Source: U.S. Census - 2010)

• There's about a 1-in-3 chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages consumed this Fourth of July originated in Iowa. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service)

• Texas produces about one-sixth of the nation’s total production of beef products, so there’s a good chance the beef hot dogs, steaks, and burgers you’ll eat on the Fourth are from Texas. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service)

Happy Fourth of July!

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