Who was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence? Is there a U.S. county named Independence? What was the nation’s population in 1776?
1. John Hancock, a merchant by trade, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence.
2. The only county named Independence is in Arkansas.
3. The U.S. population was 2.5 million in 1776. It is more than 130 times larger today at 330 million.
As the nation celebrates this Independence Day, it’s a good time to reflect on how our Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution the importance of statistics as a vital tool for measuring people, places and economy.
The following statistics — historical and whimsical — come from responses to U.S. Census Bureau surveys:
-- In July 1776, an estimated 2.5 million people lived in the 13 colonies. According to recent projections, there are 330 million residents as of July 1, 2019.
-- The oldest signer, at age 70, was Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. Franklin County, Pa., had an estimated population of 154,835 on July 1, 2018. There are 24 counties named Franklin in the United States.
-- The youngest signer, at age 26, was Edward Rutledge of South Carolina. There are no counties named Rutledge.
-- Speaking of county names, there are four counties named Liberty (Florida, Georgia, Montana, Texas) and 18 counties and one parish named Union.
-- $368.6 million worth of fireworks were sold in 2012 through establishments classified as NAICS 453998 and all other miscellaneous retailers (except tobacco stores).