Unexpectedly Intriguing!
November 25, 2013

It's Thanksgiving week once again, and here at Political Calculations, that means putting aside all our regular analysis to instead focus on the centerpiece of the meal that will grace more dining tables on one day than any other: turkey!

We're going to kick off this week's festivities by looking at how many turkeys have been raised in each year from 1970 through 2013, which we've visualized in our first chart:

Number of Turkeys Produced, 1970-2012, with Estimate for 2013*

In 2012, there were 253.5 million turkeys raised on farms across the United States. In 2013, the USDA estimates that number has fallen by about 5% to 242 million.

U.S. turkey production peaked in 1996 at 302.7 million. If the USDA's estimate of 11.5 million fewer turkeys produced in 2013 than in 2012 holds, that would be the lowest number of turkeys produced since 1988.

So what does 242 million turkeys mean in terms of the pounds of turkey headed for market? Stay tuned, as we'll weigh them all next! (Note: that link won't work until we get them on the scale sometime tomorrow!)

Data Sources

National Turkey Federation. Sourcebook. [PDF Document]. October 2013.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Turkeys Raised. [PDF Document]. 30 September 2013.


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