On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. This most American of holidays will be marked with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues across the country. As we celebrate this Independence Day, we reflect on how our Founding Fathers enshrined the importance of statistics in our Constitution as a vital tool for measuring our people, places and economy.
The following facts are made possible by the invaluable responses to the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys.
- In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million.
- Benjamin Franklin, who represented Pennsylvania, was the oldest of the signers at age 70.
- Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina, was the youngest signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence at age 26. He later served as the 39th Governor of South Carolina.
- The number of signers to the Declaration of Independence was 56. It is also worth noting that John Hancock was the first signer.
- The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
- In 1870, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday.
United States celebrates Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year.