The Importance of Independence Day by the Numbers

Many Americans celebrate Independence Day by enjoying several activities such as: lighting or watching fireworks, having barbeques or picnics, going to baseball games, and gathering with family and friends to enjoy the day.  Some may think it is all about the fireworks and food while others take time to have a parade and may even dress in clothing from the 1700’s to remember and celebrate one of the most important events in American history, our political separation from the government of England. 


The date of importance that we remember is July 4, 1776, but did you know that the Continental Congress actually voted for independence on July 2, 1776?  They did not approve the declaration until the 4th.  Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th a state holiday in 1781. Then it did not become a federal holiday until 160 years later in 1941.  The citizens of Bristol, Rhode Island have celebrated Independence Day continuously since 1785.  Independence Day festivities became more widespread after the War of 1812.

Facts about the Signers of the Declaration of Independence:





  • There were 56 signers and the oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin at 70 years.
  • The youngest was South Carolina’s Edward Rutledge at 26 years.
  • 13 signers were 35 years or younger and 7 were 60 years or older.
  • 1 signer later recanted, while held prisoner by the British (Richard Stockton of New Jersey).
  • John Hancock was the first to sign and penned the largest signature.
  • 8 of the signers were born in Britain or Ireland.
  • The Declaration of Independence was signed more than years after the Boston Tea party.


  • 63% attend a fireworks display.
  • 66% display an American flag.
  • 76% get together with family.
  • 80% attend a barbecue, picnic, or cookout.
  • 32% watch a Fourth of July parade.
  • 26% set off their own fireworks which in illegal in 4 states. (Massachusetts bans all consumer fireworks. Illinois, Ohio, and Vermont allow only wire or wood stick sparklers and other novelty items.)

Hot Dogs:

  • Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island began in 1916.
  • The record is 68 hot dogs.
  • On the Fourth of July, Americans Eat 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.
  • 1/3 of all hot dogs produced in the U.S. come from Iowa.


  • More than 14,000 Fourth of July fireworks displays explode across the nation each year.
  • Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show in New York City is the largest in the country.
  • More than 40,000 shells are launched, 12,000 pounds of black powder are used to launch the shells, as many as 1,000 shells are launched per second, shells explode up to 1,000 feet in the sky, shells range in size from 1 inch to 10 inches in diameter and weigh up to 35 pounds each.
  • The fireworks are launched from 6 barges, each carrying 5 miles of wire.

Happy Birthday America!

Resources: , which is an infographic from the History Channel and they got their information from: U.S. Census Bureau, National Archives, American Pyrotechnics Association, Gallup, Macy’s, Nathan’s Famous, Inc., National Hot Dog and Sausage Council

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