Unexpectedly Intriguing!
November 20, 2018

There's a long list of popular products and institutions that Millennials are purportedly killing. Beer. Department stores. Bar soap. Movies. The National Football League. Sex. The Canadian tourism industry. Et cetera.

But now, millennials, or rather, that generation of people born in the years from 1981 through 1996, would appear to have turned their mindlessly destructive attention toward a new target: the Thankgiving turkey.

Small birds are having a big moment.

Tiny turkeys will increasingly grace Thanksgiving tables next week, thanks to the millennial generation's ongoing campaign to remake American gastronomy. The holiday depicted by Norman Rockwell—Grandma showing off a cooked bird so plump it weighs down a banquet plate—is still common. But smaller families, growing guilt over wasteful leftovers and a preference for free-range fowl have all played roles in the emergence of petite poultry as a holiday dinner centerpiece....

There are signs that wee birds are in greater demand. Inventories of whole hens, which are smaller than males, are down 8.3 percent from a year ago, the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Whole toms, the males, are up 6.9 percent.

Don’t call them capons. They're not castrated chickens. Nor are they chicks. They're not babies. They're just turkeys that weigh in the neighborhood of six pounds.

That's considerably smaller than the weight of adult turkeys commonly found in the American wild.

Are millennials such complete hipster douchebags that they would promote a radical selective breeding/genetic modification program for little more than what amounts to a personal fashion statement for the one day they might serve up their version of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? And if so, how successful have they been at imposing their will upon the nation's turkey producers and all other Americans?

To find out the answer to that second question (the first was rhetorical), we turned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's report on the total live weight of all turkeys produced in the U.S., where the following chart presents the annual totals for each year from 1970 through the preliminary estimate for 2018.

Total Live Weight of Turkeys Produced, 1970-2017, with Estimate for 2018

We see in this chart that the answer is "maybe", where the total aggregate live weight of all turkeys produced in the U.S. declined by 0.7% from their 2017 level to a preliminary estimate of 7.488 billion pounds in 2018.

But that could also be the result of a reduction in the number of turkeys produced in the U.S. For that number, we turned to the USDA's report on the number of turkeys raised in the U.S. to determine the size of their population in 2018.

Number of Turkeys Produced on U.S. Farms, 1970-2018

Here, we find that the number of turkeys raised in the U.S. has declined by 2.5 million year-over-year, where the preliminary estimate of the population of turkeys in the U.s. has fallen to 240 million, the lowest level recorded since 1987 outside of the period of the bird flu epidemic of 2014-2015 that whacked the farm-raised population of turkeys.

By itself, this decline suggests that turkeys are becoming less popular with Americans, where Millennials would perhaps be the likely culprits, but when taken with the data for the total aggregate live weight of turkeys produced in the U.S., it allows us to determine the average live weight of the American farm-raised turkey.

Average Live Weight of Each Turkey Produced, 1970-2018

The average U.S. turkey in 2018 weighed 31.2 pounds, a tenth of a pound heavier than in 2017 and 67% heavier than the average turkey was during the 1970s, while also being 53% larger than the average turkey of 1987, when the U.S. farmers last tended a healthy turkey population similar in size to 2018's flock.

The comprehensive evidence indicates that Millennials are so-far failing to kill the Thanksgiving turkey. Going back to the Bloomberg article announcing the apparent Millennial desire for tiny turkeys, Scott Sechler, one of the breeders seeking to produce a sufficiently meaty small bird for the Millennial market, explained why that impact to the purchase weight of Ready-To-Cook turkeys now available for sale at your local grocery store has been so immeasurably small:

Still, 12- to 14-pound turkeys remain the biggest holiday seller, Sechler said. That may be because some millennials are "still going to Mom's," he said.

So says the man whose future livelihood depends upon his keeping an accurate pulse of this particular target demographic.

Labels: , ,

About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Thanks in advance!

Recent Posts

Stock Charts and News

Most Popular Posts
Quick Index

Site Data

This site is primarily powered by:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

CSS Validation

Valid CSS!

RSS Site Feed

AddThis Feed Button


The tools on this site are built using JavaScript. If you would like to learn more, one of the best free resources on the web is available at W3Schools.com.

Other Cool Resources

Blog Roll

Market Links

Useful Election Data
Charities We Support
Shopping Guides
Recommended Reading
Recently Shopped

Seeking Alpha Certified

Legal Disclaimer

Materials on this website are published by Political Calculations to provide visitors with free information and insights regarding the incentives created by the laws and policies described. However, this website is not designed for the purpose of providing legal, medical or financial advice to individuals. Visitors should not rely upon information on this website as a substitute for personal legal, medical or financial advice. While we make every effort to provide accurate website information, laws can change and inaccuracies happen despite our best efforts. If you have an individual problem, you should seek advice from a licensed professional in your state, i.e., by a competent authority with specialized knowledge who can apply it to the particular circumstances of your case.