Food, Travel and Tech

Thanksgiving by the numbers: 45 million turkeys, 3,000 calories, 54 million travelers 

Thanksgiving turkey dinner
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Thanksgiving turkey dinner

Thursday, Americans all across the country will sit down with friends and family to do the same thing: celebrate Thanksgiving.

So how many turkeys will the collective country eat? How many calories is that and how much will the meal cost? And how many people will hit the road for the holiday?

Here's your Thanksgiving by the numbers.

45 million turkeys eaten

In 2017, Americans ate 45 million turkeys over Thanksgiving, according to an estimate by the National Turkey Federation, an advocacy organization for turkey farmers. And Thanksgiving birds are sizable: The average turkey bought for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds, according to the federation.

This year, two particularly large turkeys named for typical Thanksgiving accoutrement — Peas, weighing in at 39 pounds and Carrots weighing 41 pounds — traveled from South Dakota to Washington D.C. for the official White House Turkey Pardoning ceremony. Both Peas and Carrots are pardoned and will live out their days at Virginia Tech, the National Turkey Federation's vice president of communications, Beth Breeding, tells CNBC Make It.

The $$$ of dinner

The cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner — including turkey and stuffing, rolls, sweet potatoes, green peas, fresh cranberries, carrot and veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, milk and coffee — for 10 people costs $48.90 in 2018, according to the 33rd annual American Farm Bureau, an organization representing farm and ranch families.

However, another survey found the cost of Thanksgiving was significantly higher: Americans will spend an average of $334 to host an average of 11 dinner guests, according to a survey of 1,040 Thanksgiving hosts conducted from Nov. 2 to Nov. 6, 2018 by online financial services marketplace LendingTree.

Of that more than $300 bill, $251.11 will be spent on food and another $83.23 on housewares like dishes, serving ware and decorations.

There are 159 grams of fat in Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is not kind to the waistline.

A typical Thanksgiving meal with appetizers, main dishes, side dishes and a slice of pecan pie has 3,150 calories and 159 grams of fat, according to the Calorie Control Council, an association representing the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage industries.

Meanwhile, a typical American will eat more than 4,500 calories in the entire day of Thanksgiving, the New York Times reports.

48.5 million people will be on the road

Approximately 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, according to AAA. That's 4.8 percent more than the number who traveled in 2017 and the highest number of travelers since 2005.

The overwhelming majority of those travelers — 48.5 million — will be driving, according to AAA.

"Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth," says Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel senior vice president, said in November. "This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry."

Emma Newburger contributed to this report.

See also:

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