As we celebrate our country's 243 years of independence, we can't help but look at some of the statistics that are part of our history. 

The United States Census Bureau has compiled some interesting facts about July 4 and our country:

Who was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence? 

John Hancock, a merchant by trade, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Is there a U.S. county named Independence? 

The only county named Independence is in Arkansas.

What was the nation’s population in 1776?

The U.S. population in the 13 colonies was 2.5 million in 1776. The U.S. population is more than 130 times larger today at an estimated 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:

• The oldest signer, at age 70, was Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. Franklin County, Pennsylvania, 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.

• 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.

From all of us at the Muskogee Phoenix, we wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July!

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