Editorial: America's birthday - by the numbers
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 is marked with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues across the country. As we celebrate this Independence Day, we reflect on how our Founding Fathers enshrined the importance of statistics in our Constitution as a vital tool for measuring our people, places and economy.
In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.
The nation's estimated population on July 4, 2016.
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 2015, there were 7.7 million business establishments with paid employees in the United States; 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 153,851 as of July 1, 2016. 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 64,257 people as of July 1, 2016.
Representing Georgia in 1776 were Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall and George Walton. Gwinnett County, Ga. (907,135); Hall County, Ga. (196,637); and Walton County, Ga. (90,184), 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 167,656 as of July 1, 2016.
Roger Sherman, who worked as a land surveyor and lawyer, represented Connecticut. In 2015, there were an estimated 25,698 surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists employed full time, year-round, and 879,090 lawyers employed full time, year-round nationwide.
Nelson County, Va. (14,869), and Wythe County, Va. (29,016), were named for two of the six signers who represented the state of Virginia — Thomas Nelson Jr. and George Wythe.
The value of fireworks imported from China in 2016, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($307.8 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $10.0 million in the same year.
The value of fireworks sales by retailers in 2012.
The value of fireworks and firecrackers sales by wholesalers in 2012. There were 172 wholesalers who sold these items in 2012.
The value of U.S. imports of American flags in 2016. The vast majority of this amount ($5.3 million) was imported from China.
The value of U.S. flags exported in 2016. Mexico accounted for the vast majority of U.S. flags exported ($26.1 million).
The number of counties and census incorporated places that contain the word "Liberty" in the name. Of the 33 areas, four are counties: Liberty County, Texas (81,704); Liberty County, Ga. (62,570); Liberty County, Fla. (8,202); and Liberty County, Mont. (2,409).
The number of incorporated places that has "Patriot" in its name: Patriot town, Ind., has an estimated population of 208.
The number of counties that have "Union" in the name. Of the 18 counties, the three largest in population are: Union County, N.J. (555,630); Union County, N.C. (226,606); and Union County, Ohio (55,457).
The value of trade between the United States and the United Kingdom in 2016, making the British our adversary in 1776, the seventh-leading trading partner today.
The number of people reporting English ancestry in the United States. People claiming English ancestry ranked third behind those claiming German (45,526,331) and Irish ancestry (32,713,324).