A More Perfect Union Sure Can Eat

The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. A lot has changed since the original 13 colonies agreed to form the United States of America 231 year ago. Here's a look at how far America has come since then, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau:


July 4, 1776: 2.5 million

July 4, 2007: 302 million

July 4th is often celebrated by overeating. Here's what the U.S. produces in the types of foods consumed at cook-outs:

More than One in Four

Hotdogs and pork sausage consumed will have come from Iowa, which on March 1 had about 15.5 million hogs and pigs for market, or better than one-fourth of the nation's total. North Carolina (8.4 million) and Minnesota (6.2 million) were the runners-up.

One in Six

Beef dogs, steaks and burgers consumed on July 4 will have come from Texas, which had 6.8 billion pounds of cattle and calves in production in 2006. Nebraska (4.8 billion pounds) and Kansas (4.1 billion pounds) followed close behind.


States earned more than $1 billion between December 2005 and November 2006 on boiler chickens. Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina, Mississippi or Texas is the source of a lot of barbecued chicken.

Forty-Nine Percent

Of the dry beans used for baked beans came from Michigan or North Dakota in 2006. Another popular July 4 side dish is corn on the cob. Florida, California, Georgia and New York together accounted for 60 percent of the sweet corn produced nationally in 2006.

A 50-50 Chance

That the spuds found in the potato salad and potato chips eaten on July 4 were produced in Idaho or Washington in 2006.

More than 70 percent

Of the lettuce found in salad or on burgers came was produced in 2006 in California.


Of all the fresh tomatoes used in salads came from Florida or California, which together accounted for 68 percent of U.S. tomato production last year. About 95 percent of processed tomato production — used for ketchup — occurred in California in 2006.


Led the nation in watermelon production last year (835 million pounds). Other leading producers of this popular July 4th fruit include California, Georgia and Texas, each with more than 600 million pounds.

More than 74 million

Americans said they have taken part in a barbecue during the previous year.

Enjoy the Festivities with U.S. Flags and Fireworks:

$206.3 million

Worth of fireworks were imported from China in 2006, representing almost all the fireworks ($216 million in value) imported into the U.S. fireworks. U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $22.6 million in 2006, with Japan purchasing more than any other country ($8 million).

$17.3 million

The value of U.S. manufacturers' shipments of fireworks in 2002.

$5.3 million

Worth of American flags were imported In 2006, with the vast majority ($5 million worth) being made in China.

$1.7 million

Worth of U.S. flags were exported in 2006, with Trinidad and Tobago being the leading customer, purchasing $661,498 worth.

$349.2 million

Worth of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems are produced annually by the nation's manufacturers, according to 2002 data.

$99 billion

Worth of trade crossed the pond between the United States and the United Kingdom, making the British, enemy No. 1 in 1776 , America's sixth-leading trading partner today.

Sites and Sounds


Places nationwide contain the word "liberty" in its name. The most populous one is Liberty, Mo. (29,042 residents). Iowa has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.


Places nationwide contain the word "eagle" in its name in honor of the majestic bird that serves as the national symbol. The most populous town is Eagle Pass, Texas, (25,571 residents). There is also Eagle County, Colo., with a population of 49,085.


Places nationwide have "independence" in their name. The most populous of these is Independence, Mo. (110,208 residents).


Places have adopted the name "freedom." Freedom, Calif., with 6,000 residents, has the largest population among these.


Places have the word "America" incorporated into its name. The most populous being American Fork, Utah, with a population of 21,372.


Place is named "patriot" — Patriot, Ind., with a population of 195.