Politicians regularly remind us that freedom isn’t free. Celebrating freedom isn’t free, either.
According to the National Retail Federation, which bases its estimates on survey data, consumers will spend around $6.8 billion just for food while celebrating this Fourth of July.
Eighty-six percent of Americans are expected to take part in Independence Day festivities of some kind. Sixty-one percent will celebrate at a cookout, 40 percent will attend fireworks displays, 14 percent will travel, and 11 percent will attend parades.
Party in the USA
It should come as no surprise that a majority of Americans associate the holiday with grilling out. After all, what’s more American than having a cold drink in one hand and a burger or hotdog in the other?
The National Sausage and Hot Dog Council says 150 million hot dogs are consumed for the holiday — “enough to stretch between L.A. and Washington, D.C., more than five times.”
No trade group has produced an analogous number for hamburgers, but one estimate suggests Americans eat as many as 375 million. The U.S. population, for context, is around 327 million.
Raise Your Glass
Independence Day is also the No. 1 beer-drinking holiday in the United States. Americans purchase around $1 billion of the stuff and an additional $568 million of wine.
NRF’s estimate for food spending this year is about $400 million shy of the peak estimate in 2017. On average, American adults will spend about $73 per person on food. Men seem to spend a little bit more than women.
More Money, More Patriotism?
The biggest age group of spenders on the Fourth of July are expected to be the 35-to-44-year-olds. On average, NRF says they will spend more than $81 per person. The U.S.’s northeast will be the highest spending region, shelling out around $78 per person.
If planned spending for food and drink on the Fourth of July is a measure of patriotism, the Midwest is the least patriotic region in the United States, spending around $68 per person. Or maybe hot dogs and burgers are just cheaper there.
Rockets’ Red Glare
Food, of course, isn’t the only thing people buy for the Fourth. More than 16,000 official firework displays light up the sky each Independence Day. These typically cost municipalities between $25,000 and $100,000. In total, more than $1 billion will be spent on fireworks around July 4.
Road to Freedom
Besides being a day for celebrating liberty by setting off small explosives, Independence Day is also a travel holiday. In 2018, a record-breaking number of Americans traveled more than 50 miles: 46.9 million, according to AAA. Even more, 49 million, are expected to hit the road this year.
The overwhelming majority of Independence Day travelers, 85 percent, will drive. They’ll benefit from gas prices that are on average 19 cents lower than last year.
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