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How do Americans celebrate Fourth of July?


The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that 219 million Americans (nearly 70% of the population)[1] will celebrate Independence Day this year.  The number of people who will celebrate is 2% higher than last year and the average amount they plan to spend on food items this holiday is up 3% to $73.42 per person.  In fact, the holiday is expected to generate $7.1 billion in revenue from food sales.[2] 

About 44% of respondents to NRF’s survey said they will attend a fireworks display or community celebration and 13% have plans to travel or go on vacation.  But the most popular festivities are centered on food: over 65% of respondents will have a cookout, barbecue, or picnic.[3]  150 million hot dogs are eaten on the Fourth, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.[4] 

In good news for hot dog-lovers, the price of frankfurters decreased 2% between May 2016 and May 2017.  In contrast, hot dog prices grew at a compound annual rate of 2% from May 2012 to May 2016, although prices have been volatile from year to year. Meanwhile, the prices of beer consumed at home and outside of home are up 2% and 3%, respectively, compared with last year.  This is on par with the price increase of all goods, up 2% from May 2016.[5]  

Figure 1: The price of frankfurters has fallen in recent months, whereas the price of beer has risen consistently over the past five years.[6]


New York City certainly knows how to celebrate America’s independence!  On July 4th, 40,000 people are expected to watch the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest broadcast from Coney Island, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.[7]  Moreover, this year’s Macy’s pyrotechnic show is expected to draw over three million spectators and millions more will tune in to watch the largest Independence Day fireworks show in the country.  Always an incredible display, this year’s Macy’s pyrotechnic extravaganza will incorporate over 60,000 shells—50% more than the 40,000 fireworks launched over the skyline last year.[8] 

Revenue in the U.S. fireworks industry has been booming.  Between 2012 and 2016, proceeds increased 21% to nearly $1.2 billion.  268.4 million pounds of fireworks were sold in 2016, up 29% from 2012.  Despite the danger inherent with fireworks, far more injuries were incurred last year from baseball (123,200) than from pyrotechnics (11,100).[9]  So enjoy the show, a tradition dating back 240 years when Philadelphia declared the occasion by “adjourning Congress and celebrating with bonfires, bells, and fireworks.”[10]   



[1] U.S. Census Bureau

[5] Bureau of Labor Statistics: CPI – All Urban Consumers, U.S. city average; note: data are not seasonally adjusted

[6] Bureau of Labor Statistics: CPI – All Urban Consumers, U.S. city average; note: data are not seasonally adjusted

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