285 million pounds of fireworks: 4th of July by the numbers


American flag? Check. Hot dogs? Check. Fireworks? Triple check.

This 4th of July, we’re celebrating the nation’s 240th birthday.

So how exactly do Americans celebrate? To put things in perspective, here are some numbers from 2015 that might make you gasp… and a little woozy.


Fourth of July can’t be celebrated without seeing red, white and blue everywhere. Probably the most important Fourth of July feature is the U.S. flag.


Yogi would be proud, Americans do a lot of picnicking on the 4th. According to theNational Retail Federation, 64.5% of people will attend a Fourth of July picnic or barbecue.

There is $6.77 billion in planned spending on Fourth of July food, and it just so happens that July is National Hot Dog Month. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says that out of an estimated 20 billion hot dogs consumed by Americans each year, 155 million are consumed on July 4.


There are two broad types of fireworks. Consumer fireworks are those that average citizens use, and display fireworks— the kind used by professionals.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association,

  • Total revenue: $1.09 billion
  • Consumer: $755 million
  • Display: $340 million

It’s important to practice safety measures when using fireworks. Serious misuse and illegal explosives account for a large number of firework-related injuries each year.

  • 67% of all firework-related injuries happen within month of July 4
  • 690 people use emergency services for firework-related injuries on July 4
  • Seven people die due to fireworks each year

While those numbers may seem frightening, remember that only 0.04% of non-fatal injuries were firework-related. Firework injury rate was almost 42% lower in 2015 than 2000, even though in 2015 there were 285.3 million pounds of fireworks used compared to 2000’s 152.2 million pounds.


The biggest Fourth of July firework show in the country is Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show in New York City, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Approximately 3 million spectators will watch from the city and about 15 million people will watch NBC’s live broadcast the show.

From six barges on the Hudson River:

  • Over 40,000 shells will launch
  • 12,000 pounds of black powder will be used to launch the shells
  • As many as 1,000 shells will launch per second

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