Our great country is about to celebrate a birthday. Such holidays are often celebrated by a show of patriotism. There’s no better way to show your patriotism than with a flag. For today then let’s look at some interesting tidbits about the flag business in the US.
Since 9/11 flag sales have been more popular than ever. It wasn’t just the terrorist attacks that refueled our patriotism. It was the subsequent wars and sending our men and women overseas that sent our patriotism over the edge. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. And sales of American flags have certainly been good.
And when demand for flags went up, so did supply. But what we didn’t realize in the early 2000s was where those flags were coming from. They weren’t coming from the US. There’s a certain irony to buying a flag not made in the country it represents. You might not expect to find a Spanish flag in the US made in Spain, but an American should own an American flag made in America.
Sure enough right after 9/11 we bought flags like crazy, and the flags were imported from manufacturers with the capacity to make them. Imports shot up overnight. Almost as quickly we realized we didn’t want an American flag made in China and so we started making them at home again. Since then sales have been on a relative decline but seem to also have leveled off.
What else can we learn about flags? Well a flag seller recently went bankrupt, which is certainly sad. But businesses can be poorly run or markets can get too competitive. But an article about the company in the Wall Street Journal points to an interesting potential economic statistic: flagpole sales. A flag manufacturer has seen a spike in flagpole sales which to them indicates more construction spending.
So that’s all to be learned about flags, but here are some other statistics courtesy of the US Census Bureau which also provided the info on the flags:
- 2.5 million: In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation
- $232.3 million: The value of fireworks imported from China in 2011, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($223.4 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $15.8 million in 2011, with Australia purchasing more than any other country ($4.5 million)
- Eleven places have “independence” in their names. The most populous one is Independence, Mo., with a population of 116,830
- Nine places have “freedom” in their names. The most populous one is New Freedom, Pa., with a population of 4,464
- One place has “patriot” in its name. Patriot, Ind., has a population of 209