4th of July: A by-the-numbers look at the American holiday

Here’s how much Americans are shelling out for 4th of July food, fireworks and celebrations

The Fourth of July is an annual federal holiday that celebrates the day the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

That day, 247 years ago, there were roughly 2.5 million people living in the newly formed nation’s 13 colonies. 

Now the United States has a population of nearly 333.3 million, and many of these American households will participate in a Fourth of July gathering or event.

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Here are 10 quick facts about Fourth of July food and firework spending, celebrations and travel plans.

Woman holds up american flag on beach

This year marks the country's 247th Fourth of July observance. The federal holiday celebrates the day the U.S. adopted its Declaration of Independence.  (iStock / iStock)

1. How much money is spent on 4th of July celebrations?

2. How many 4th of July BBQs are there?

3. How many hot dogs are eaten on 4th of July?

4. How many people watch Nathan's hot dog eating contest?

5. Is 4th of July a popular beer holiday?

6. How much money is spent on 4th of July fireworks?

7. How many fireworks will go off during Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show?

8. How many people travel during 4th of July weekend?

9. How many American flags are sold each year?

10. How much was 4th of July food inflation last year?

1. How much money is spent on 4th of July celebrations?

Researchers at the National Retail Federation (NRF) have predicted that 87% of Americans will celebrate Independence Day, and those celebrants will spend $93.34 per person on various food items, according to the retail trade association's current projection for 2023.

Hot dogs and burgers in front of an American flag

Barbecuing is a popular Fourth of July pastime. (iStock / iStock)

2. How many 4th of July BBQs are there?

Of those who plan to celebrate the Fourth of July, 65% are planning to host a cookout, barbecue or picnic, according to the NRF.

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3. How many hot dogs are eaten on 4th of July?

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council estimates that Americans eat approximately 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July each year. 

The council says if someone laid out these hot dogs in real-life, the combined length would be "enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times."

Nathan's hot dog eating contest 2019

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut wins the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2019 with 71 hot dogs eaten at the Coney Island Boardwalk on July 4, 2019, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

4. How many people watch Nathan's hot dog eating contest?

Marketers at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs report that nearly two million people tune in to watch its annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest. 

More than 40,000 people stop by the Coney Island competition venue in Brooklyn, N.Y. to see contestants eat as many hot dogs as they possibly can.

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5. Is 4th of July a popular beer holiday?

The top holiday for at-home beer consumption is the Fourth of July, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

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6. How much money is spent on 4th of July fireworks?

A firework industry revenue report from the American Pyrotechnics Association reveals that the display fireworks industry made $400 million in 2022, while the consumer fireworks industry made $2.3 billion. 

The association says American use fireworks year-round to celebrate events, but "July 4th is still the ‘big day.’"

Fireworks Philadelphia

Spectators watch the annual Independence Day fireworks display outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia on July 4, 2021.  (ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

7. How many fireworks will go off during Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show?

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show in New York City will fire off approximately 2,400 shells and effects per minute from the East River barge. 

The "25-minute extravaganza" will release 60,000 fireworks shells "across the Big Apple skyline," according to the national department store's event page for 2023.

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In 2022 and during the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain and labor force disruptions in the firework industry were contributing factors to a national firework shortage, which had an effect on some celebratory displays throughout the country.

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8. How many people travel during 4th of July weekend?

The American Automobile Association estimates that 50.7 million people will travel for the Fourth of July starting from Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4. 

The association’s forecast predicts that 43.2 million Americans will travel by car, 4.17 million will travel by air and 3.36 million will travel by bus, train and cruise.

9. How many American flags are sold each year?

The Flag Manufacturers Association of America estimates that there are 150 million American flags sold in the U.S. each year.

Family hangs up American flag

Americans often host Fourth of July gatherings and decorate their venue with patriotic American flags. (iStock / iStock)

10. How much was 4th of July food inflation last year?

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual "Cost of July 4th Cookout" market basket study found that the 2022 inflation rate made "Independence Day cookout foods" 17% more expensive than it was in 2021, which was an increase of "about $10."

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The federation estimated Fourth of July foods cost a total of $69.68 in 2022 versus $59.50 in 2021. The bureau has yet to release its Cost of July 4th Cookout for 2023.