Thanksgiving by the numbers

By the United States Census Bureau

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims — early settlers of Plymouth Colony — held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Many regard this event as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. The Wampanoag Indians in attendance played a key role. Historians have recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America. These include the British colonists in Virginia as early as 1619.

The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday 154 years ago (Oct. 3, 1863) when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving Day should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.

The following facts are made possible by the responses to the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys.

Where to Feast

118.9 million

Potential stops for Thanksgiving dinner: This is the number of occupied housing units across the nation in the second quarter of 2017 — potential stops for Thanksgiving dinner.

4.6 million

The number of multigenerational households in the United States in 2016. It is possible these households, consisting of three or more generations, will have to purchase large quantities of food to accommodate all the family members sitting around the table for the holiday feast, even if there are no guests.

Four

The number of places in the United States named after the holiday’s traditional main course:

• Turkey Creek, Arizona, population 405

• Turkey City, Texas (367)

• Turkey Creek village, La. (357)

•Turkey town, N.C. (280).

• There are also 11 townships in the United States with “Turkey” in the name.

34

The number of counties, places and townships in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. The two counties named Plymouth are in Massachusetts (513,565 residents) and Iowa (25,200 residents).

Plymouth city, Minn., is the most populous place, with 77,216 residents in 2016.

Participants in the First Feast

23.8 million

The number of U.S. residents of English ancestry as of 2016. Some could very well be descendants of the Plymouth colonists who participated in the autumn feast that is widely believed to be one of the first Thanksgivings.

6,500

The number of members of the Wampanoag American Indian tribal grouping as of 2010, roughly half of whom resided in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag attended the first Thanksgiving, playing a lead role in the historic event, and were essential to the survival of the colonists during the newcomers’ first year.

Culinary Delights

44.5 million

The forecasted number of turkeys raised in Minnesota in 2016. Minnesota topped in turkey production, followed by North Carolina (33.5 million),  Arkansas (26.0 million), and Indiana (19.5 million)

$25.8 million

The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys in 2016, with 99.9 percent of them coming from Canada and the remaining from France. When it comes to sweet potatoes, the Dominican Republic was the source of 49.6 percent ($6.4 million) of total imports ($12.9 million). The United States ran a $13.7 million trade deficit in live turkeys during the period but had a surplus of $159.4 million in sweet potatoes.

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