How Automation Has Affected Jobs Once Essential to Thanksgiving Dinner

This Thanksgiving, advancements in technology are leaving some Americans thankless and creating opportunities for others. Are these changes affecting you? Here’s a a look at the history of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving by the numbers from the US Census: In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims — early settlers of Plymouth Colony, held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. This event is regarded by many as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. The Wampanoag Indians in attendance played a key role. Historians have recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America. These include the British colonists in Virginia as early as 1619. The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday 151 years ago (Oct. 3, 1863) when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday. Where to Feast 115 million Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2014’s second quarter — all potential stops for Thanksgiving dinner. 4.4 million Number of multigenerational households in the U.S. in 2013. These households, consisting of three or more generations, no doubt will have to purchase large quantities of food to accommodate all the family members sitting around the table for the holiday feast ─ even if there are no guests! 8 Number of places and townships in the United States that are named Cranberry or some spelling variation of the acidic red berry (e.g., Cranbury, N.J.), a popular side dish at Thanksgiving. Cranberry Township (Butler County, Pa.), was the most populous of these places in 2013, with 29,490 residents. Cranberry township (Venango County, Pa.), was next (6,583). 42 Number of counties, places and townships in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. The two counties, both named Plymouth, are in Massachusetts (2013 population of 501,915) and Iowa (24,957 in 2013). Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous place, with 73,987 residents in 2013; There are two places in the United States named Pilgrim: One, a township in Dade County, Mo., had a 2013 population of 128; the other, a census designated place in Michigan, had a 2010 population of 11. And then there is Mayflower, Ark., whose population was 2,299 in 2012, and Mayflower Village, Calif., whose population was 5,515 in 2010. Participants in the First Feast 24.5 million Number of U.S. residents of English ancestry as of 2013. Some could very well be descendants of the Plymouth colonists who participated in the autumn feast that is widely believed to be one of the first Thanksgivings ─ especially the 664,000 living in Massachusetts. 6,500 Number of members of the Wampanoag American Indian tribal grouping, as of 2010, roughly half of whom reside in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag, the American Indians in attendance, played a lead role in this historic encounter, and they had been essential to the survival of the colonists during the newcomers’ first year. The Wampanoag are a people with a sophisticated society who have occupied the region for thousands of years. They have their own government, their own religious and philosophical beliefs, their own knowledge system, and their own culture. They are also a people for whom giving thanks was a part of daily life. Preparing the Feast … Enjoying the Day … and the Aftermath 98.6% Percentage of households in 2013 with a gas or electric stove ─ essential for cooking their Thanksgiving feast. Another 96.8 percent had a microwave, also helpful in preparing the meal. 98.3% Percentage of households with a television in 2013. No doubt, many guests either before, after, or perhaps even during the feast will settle in front of their TVs to watch some football. 35.8% Percentage of households with a stand-alone food freezer in 2013, which they may want to use to preserve their Thanksgiving leftovers. Far more (99.2 percent) have a refrigerator. Once all the guests leave, it will be time to clean up. Fortunately, 69.3 percent have a dishwasher to make the task easier. Culinary Delights 66,047 The number of supermarkets and other grocery (except convenience) stores in the United States in 2012. These establishments are expected to be extremely busy around Thanksgiving, as people prepare for their delightful meals. 3,240 The number of baked goods stores in the United States in 2012 — a potential place to visit to purchase refreshing desserts. 2,788 The number of fruit and vegetable markets in the United States in 2012 — a great place to find holiday side dishes. 242 million The number of turkeys that were forecasted to be raised in the United States in 2014. That is down 5 percent from the number raised during 2012. 45 million The forecast for the number of turkeys Minnesota will raise in 2014. The Gopher State was tops in turkey production, followed by North Carolina (35 million), Arkansas (29 million), Indiana (17 million), Missouri (17 million), and Virginia (16 million). $19 million The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys for 2013, with 99.9 percent of them coming from Canada. When it comes to sweet potatoes, the Dominican Republic was the source of 47.8 percent ($5 million) of total imports ($10.4 million). The United States ran a $13.6 million trade deficit in live turkeys during the period but had a surplus of $86.1 million in sweet potatoes. 856 million pounds The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2014. Wisconsin was estimated to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 538 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (estimated at 210 million). New Jersey, Oregon and Washington were also estimated to have substantial production, ranging from 16 to 55 million pounds. 2.4 billion pounds The total weight of sweet potatoes — another popular Thanksgiving side dish — produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2014.