Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America

On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress which was the beginning of America as a sovereign nation. While we celebrate the day with parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues, it's nice to be reminded of how far we've come as a nation.

In July 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the colonies, according to the Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970. Today, we are approaching 300 million. Nearly 70 percent of the adult population are homeowners.
Today, we are still a nation of immigrants, although many have been here for generations, and a few can point to ancestry that dates back to the colonization of the Americas. In remembrance of our immigrant past, here is how "Coming to America" stands today.

In 2004, the number of foreign-born residents in the United States was 34 million, accounting for 12 percent of the nation’s total population. Another 30 million Americans were "second-generation," meaning that at least one of their parents was born abroad. In 2004, 53 percent of the nation's foreign-born population was born in Latin America. The number of immigrants granted legal permanent residence in the United States during fiscal year 2004 was 946,000, and more than one in four settled in California.

From Oct. 1, 2003 to Sept. 30, 2004, 537,000 people became naturalized U.S. citizens. Mexico contributed the highest number of naturalized citizens in 2004 (63,800), followed by India (38,000), the Philippines (31,400), Vietnam (27,500) and China (27,300).

As the nation celebrates its birthday, the number of Fourth of July Cookouts is estimated to be huge with approximately 150 million hot dogs to be consumed. That's one frankfurter for every two people in the U.S. Over $211 million will be spent on fireworks, with the majority of fireworks imported from China.
About $5.5 million has been estimated in 2005 as the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags; the vast majority of this amount ($5 million) was for U.S. flags made in China, and about $349 million is the annual dollar value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation’s manufacturers, according to the latest published Economic Census (2002) data.

Plenty of U.S. towns have names like Liberty, Independence, Eagle and Freedom, the most well-known of which are Liberty, MO (28,528), Eagle Pass, Texas, with 24,847 residents, Independence, MO, with 111,023 residents, and Freedom, CA, with 6,000 residents.

Happy July 4th


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