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The Fourth of July: 2016

Press Release Number CB16-FF.13

JUNE 20, 2016 — On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. This most American of holidays will be marked with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues across the country.

2.5 million

In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.

321.4 million   

The nation’s estimated population on July 4 last year.

The Signers


The number of signers to the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston comprised the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration. Jefferson, regarded as the strongest and most eloquent writer, wrote most of the document.

It is also worth noting that:

  • John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress, was the first signer, and a merchant by trade. In 2014, there were 7.6 million business establishments with paid employees in the U.S.; 1.1 million, like Hancock, were in the retail trade industry.

  • Benjamin Franklin, who represented Pennsylvania, was the oldest of the signers at age 70. Franklin County, Pa., had an estimated population of 153,638 as of July 1, 2015. Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina, was the youngest at age 26.

  • Two future presidents signed, John Adams (second President) and Thomas Jefferson (third President). Both died on the 50th anniversary of signing the Declaration (July 4, 1826). There are 12 counties nationwide named Adams and 26 named Jefferson.

  • 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. Livingston County, N.Y., was home to an estimated 64,717 people as of July 1, 2015.

  • Representing Georgia in 1776 were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall and George Walton. Gwinnett County, Ga. (895,823); Hall County, Ga. (193,535); and Walton County, Ga. (88,399) were named for these signers.

  • Charles Carroll, who represented Maryland, was the last surviving signer of the Declaration. He died in 1832 at the age of 95. Carroll County, Md., named for him, had an estimated population of 167,627 as of July 1, 2015.

  • Roger Sherman, who worked as a land surveyor and lawyer, represented Connecticut. In 2014, there were an estimated 30,688 surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists employed full time, year-round, and 861,223 lawyers employed full time, year-round nationwide.

  • Nelson County, Va. (14,785) and Wythe County, Va. (29,119) were named for two of the six signers who represented the state of Virginia — Thomas Nelson Jr. and George Wythe.

And the Rockets’ Red Glare

$311.7 million

The value of fireworks imported from China in 2015, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($324.8 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $12.7 million in 2015, with Singapore purchasing more than any other country ($4.6 million).

$368.6 million

The dollar value of fireworks sales by retailers in 2012.

$482.6 million

The dollar value of fireworks and firecrackers sales by wholesalers in 2012. There were 172 wholesalers who sold these items in 2012.

You’re a Grand Old Flag

$4.4 million

The dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags in 2015. The vast majority of this amount ($4.3 million) was for U.S. flags made in China.

$3.1 million

The dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2015. Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $2.4 million worth.

This Land Is Your Land


The number of counties and census incorporated places that contain the word “liberty” in the name. Of the 33 places, four are counties: Liberty County, Ga. (62,467); Liberty County, Fla. (8,331); Liberty County, Mont. (2,408); and Liberty County, Texas (79,654).


The number of incorporated places that has “patriot” in its name: Patriot, Ind., has an estimated population of 208.


The number of counties and census incorporated places that have “union” in the name. In total, there are 204 places with active governments that contain “union.” 

The British Are Coming!

$114.1 billion

The dollar value of trade in 2015 between the U.S. and the United Kingdom, making the British, our adversary in 1776, our eighth-leading trading partner today.


The number of people reporting English ancestry in the U.S. In addition, there were 1,326,960 people who reported British ancestry in 2014.

The following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

Black (African American) History Month (February)
Super Bowl
Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
Women's History Month (March)
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
      St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
Earth Day (April 22)
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
Older Americans Month (May)
Mother's Day
Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
Father's Day
The Fourth of July (July 4)
Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
Back to School (August)
Labor Day
Grandparents Day
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Unmarried and Single Americans Week
Halloween (Oct. 31)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving Day
The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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