As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Americans should be pleased to know that there is no shortage of turkeys. About 270 million were raised in the United States this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau estimates the current resident population at just over 288 million.

North Carolina alone expects to raise 44.5 million. Minnesota hopes to come in a close second with its hefty total of 44 million of the birds. That makes “the Tar Heel and Gopher states the top two in turkey production,” according to the Census Bureau.

Following closely behind are Arkansas (29 million), Missouri (24 million), Virginia (20 million), California (17.7 million), Indiana (13 million) and South Carolina (10 million). The Census Bureau said these eight states will provide three out of every four turkeys produced in the United States this year.

And Americans are eating plenty of turkey. The Census Bureau reported that the average American consumes 13.6 pounds of turkey annually—no doubt a good bit of it at Thanksgiving.

In fact, Americans are so fond of this fowl that they have named several towns after it: Turkey, Texas; Turkey, N.C.; Turkey Creek, La. Eleven other townships are named “Turkey,” three of them in Kansas.

And what Thanksgiving table would be complete without cranberry sauce? This year about 572 million pounds of this holiday side dish were produced.

As for sweet potatoes and pumpkins, Americans seem to have plenty of these as well. The United States produced a whopping 1.4 billion pounds of sweet potatoes and 831 million pounds of pumpkins this year.
And it appears more Americans will be traveling to their Thanksgiving banquets this year, according to AAA. An estimated 35.9 million travelers will hit the roads, rails and air during Thanksgiving this year, a slight increase over last year.

Eighty-six percent will travel by car, and 6 percent will take to the air, AAA predicted.
“Motorists traveling for Thanksgiving will find gasoline significantly pricier than last year,” according to Associated Press. “The nationwide average price of gas, $1.46 per gallon, is about 25 cents higher than last year.”

Need help making this year’s Thanksgiving road trip more enjoyable for the whole family? offers some helpful travel tips and activities, such as:
“As you drive to your destination in a car or bus, have the whole family play a game where each person tries to be the first to spell ‘turkey’ by finding each consecutive letter of the word in a sign or license plate.”

Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.

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