Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving by the numbers

Holiday data roundup for the fourth Thursday in November.


42.5 million Americans (about 14 percent of the total US population) will travel at least 50 miles from home over Thanksgiving weekend. This represents a 4 percent increase in total holiday weekend trips, compared with 2010, but remains well below the peak in 2005 according to an annual report released by AAA.

Auto travel accounts for the lion's share (90 percent) of those trips. Despite notoriously long lines at the airport, only 8 percent of holiday travelers plan to fly, and the remaining 2 percent will travel via train, bus, or other mode.

About half of long-distance travelers (those going 50 miles or more) will make a day trip of it. The other half will spend an average of three nights away from home.


13.3 pounds of turkey are consumed by the average American each year, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

248 million turkeys were raised in the United States in 2011, up 2 percent from the prior year. U.S. turkey production for 2010 was valued at $4.37 billion. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the retail price per pound of turkey is lowest in November.

750 million pounds of cranberries were grown in the U.S. in 2011. Wisconsin grows the most (430 million pounds) followed by Massachusetts (210 million pounds).

2.4 billion pounds of sweet potatoes and 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins were grown in the United States in 2010. No stats are available on how many are baked into pies.


A poll by Harris Interactive found that more than half of working Americans (59 percent) report checking their work email on major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

While many retailers tried to get a jump on the holiday shopping season this year, there is a clear spike in retail jobs each year from November to December. This should come as no surprise since about half of Americans spend time shopping on Thanksgiving weekend.

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