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Shedding Light

October 21, 2014

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Profile America — Tuesday, October 21st. An invention was demonstrated on this date in 1879 that lit the way for a dramatic change in the rhythm of Americans' daily lives. At his Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory, Thomas Edison set up the first incandescent light bulb, which burned for almost 14 hours. Within a few years, some cities had installed electric streetlights. The number of homes across the U.S. with electricity grew steadily, but even in 1940, more than one-in-five houses was without power. Today, there are over 10,000 electric power generating establishments. American homes on average use nearly 11,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. The national average bill for this power is just over $107 per month, but over $203 in Hawaii. Profile America is in its17th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sources:
Invention of light bulb: http://www.menloparkmuseum.org/thomas-edison-and-menlo-park
2012 County Business Power data on electric power generation: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=BP_2012_00A1&prodType=table NAICS 2211
National average home electric consumption: http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=97&t=3
Table of average electric bills by state: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/xls/table5_a.xls


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | Last Revised: September 26, 2014