Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Profile America “Facts for Features” Thanksgiving Day: Nov. 27, 2014

U.S. Census Bureau
Profile America “Facts for Features”
Thanksgiving Day: Nov. 27, 2014

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims – early settlers of Plymouth Colony, held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. This event is regarded by many as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. The Wampanoag Indians in attendance played a key role. Historians have recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America. These include the British colonists in Virginia as early as 1619.

The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday 151 years ago (Oct. 3, 1863) when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.

Where to Feast

115 million

Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2014’s second quarter — all potential stops for Thanksgiving dinner. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership, Table 8 <http://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/data/histtabs.html>

4.4 million

Number of multigenerational households in the U.S. in 2013. These households, consisting of three or more generations, no doubt will have to purchase large quantities of food to accommodate all the family members sitting around the table for the holiday feast ─ even if there are no guests!
Source: 2013 American Community Survey, Table B11017


Number of places in the United States named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey Creek, La., was the most populous in 2013, with 435 residents, followed by Turkey, Texas (410), Turkey, N.C. (291) and Turkey Creek, Ariz. (294). There are also two townships in Pennsylvania with “Turkey” in the name: Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot. (Please note that the Turkey Creek, Ariz., population total pertains to the 2010 Census).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 Population Estimates and American FactFinder, Table DP-1, 2010 Census Summary File 1


Number of places and townships in the United States that are named Cranberry or some spelling variation of the acidic red berry (e.g., Cranbury, N.J.), a popular side dish at Thanksgiving. Cranberry Township (Butler County), Pa., was the most populous of these places in 2013, with 29,490 residents. Cranberry township (Venango County), Pa., was next (6,583). (Please note that population totals for the two places on the list that are census designated places ─ Cranbury, N.J., with a population of 2,181, and Cranberry Lake, N.Y., with a population of 200 ─ pertain to 2010.)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 Population Estimates and 2010 Census Summary File 1 <http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2013/index.html> <http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?fpt=table>


Number of counties, places and townships in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. The two counties, both named Plymouth, are in Massachusetts (2013 population of 501,915) and Iowa (24,957 in 2013).
Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous place, with 73,987 residents in 2013; There are two places in the United States named Pilgrim: One, a township in Dade County, Mo., had a 2013 population of 128; the other, a census designated place in Michigan, had a 2010 population of 11. And then there is Mayflower, Ark., whose population was 2,299 in 2012, and Mayflower Village, Calif., whose population was 5,515 in 2010.
Note: Townships have been included in these counts from 12 states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin) where the primary governmental or administrative divisions of a county serve as general-purpose local governments that can perform the same governmental functions as incorporated places. These county subdivisons are known as minor civil divisions, and the Census Bureau presents data for these in all data products for which place data are provided.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Summary File 1 2013 Population Estimates
Counties: <http://www.census.gov/popest/data/counties/asrh/2013/index.html>
Cities and Towns: <http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2013/index.html>
2014 U.S. Gazetteer Files

Participants in the First Feast

24.5 million

Number of U.S. residents of English ancestry as of 2013. Some could very well be descendants of the Plymouth colonists who participated in the autumn feast that is widely believed to be one of the first Thanksgivings ─ especially the 664,000 living in Massachusetts.
Source: 2013 American Community Survey, Table B04006.


Number of members of the Wampanoag American Indian tribal grouping, as of 2010, roughly half of whom reside in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag, the American Indians in attendance, played a lead role in this historic encounter, and they had been essential to the survival of the colonists during the newcomers’ first year. The Wampanoag are a people with a sophisticated society who have occupied the region for thousands of years. They have their own government, their own religious and philosophical beliefs, their own knowledge system, and their own culture. They are also a people for whom giving thanks was a part of daily life.
Sources: 2010 Census American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File, Table DP-1
American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving, National Museum of the American Indian <http://nmai.si.edu/sites/1/files/pdf/education/thanksgiving_poster.pdf>.

Preparing the Feast … Enjoying the Day … and the Aftermath


Percentage of households in 2013 with a gas or electric stove ─ essential for cooking their Thanksgiving feast. Another 96.8 percent had a microwave, also helpful in preparing the meal.
Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States: 2013,
Table 3 <www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p70-136.pdf>


Percentage of households with a television in 2013. No doubt, many guests either before, after, or perhaps even during the feast will settle in front of their TVs to watch some football.
Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States: 2013,
Table 3 <www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p70-136.pdf>


Percentage of households with a stand-alone food freezer in 2013, which they may want to use to preserve their Thanksgiving leftovers. Far more (99.2 percent) have a refrigerator. Once all the guests leave, it will be time to clean up. Fortunately, 69.3 percent have a dishwasher to make the task easier.
Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States: 2011,
Table 3 <www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p70-136.pdf>

Culinary Delights


The number of supermarkets and other grocery (except convenience) stores in the United States in 2012. These establishments are expected to be extremely busy around Thanksgiving, as people prepare for their delightful meals.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS Code 44511


The number of baked goods stores in the United States in 2012 — a potential place to visit to purchase refreshing desserts.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS Code 445291


The number of fruit and vegetable markets in the United States in 2012 — a great place to find holiday side dishes.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS Code 445230

242 million

The number of turkeys that were forecasted to be raised in the United States in 2014. That is down 5 percent from the number raised during 2012. Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, <http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/TurkRaisSu/TurkRaisSu-09-30-2014.pdf>

45 million

The forecast for the number of turkeys Minnesota will raise in 2014. The Gopher State was tops in turkey production, followed by North Carolina (35 million), Arkansas (29 million), Indiana (17 million), Missouri (17 million), and Virginia (16 million).
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service,

$19 million

The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys for 2013, with 99.9 percent of them coming from Canada. When it comes to sweet potatoes, the Dominican Republic was the source of 47.8 percent ($5 million) of total imports ($10.4 million). The United States ran a $13.6 million trade deficit in live turkeys during the period but had a surplus of $86.1 million in sweet potatoes.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics

856 million pounds

The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2014. Wisconsin was estimated to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 538 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (estimated at 210 million). New Jersey, Oregon and Washington were also estimated to have substantial production, ranging from 16 to 55 million pounds.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service,

2.4 billion pounds

The total weight of sweet potatoes — another popular Thanksgiving side dish — produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2014
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, <http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/CropProd/CropProd-10-10-2014.pdf>

U.S. Issues Statement on Tunisia’s Presidential Election

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 23, 2014

I congratulate the Tunisian people on today’s presidential election. This historic moment has come about due to the strong commitment by Tunisians from across the political spectrum to democracy and the rule of law. With a continued emphasis on political and social cooperation and consensus-building, Tunisia’s democratic path will remain an inspiration to all those in the region and around the world who are working to build the foundation for an inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous future. I saw firsthand the power of Tunisia’s example when I visited earlier this year, and the United States will continue to support Tunisia’s transition and provide economic and security assistance to the Tunisian people. We look forward to the successful conclusion of Tunisia’s presidential election process by the end of this year and are committed to working with the democratically-elected government that will lead the country in the years ahead.

Dr. Jill Biden Speaks at GES Women’s Day in Morocco

Office of the Vice President
November 19, 2014

Remarks As Prepared for Delivery by Dr. Jill Biden at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit Women’s Day
Marrakech, Morocco
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It is so wonderful to be with so many amazing women who are realizing their potential. A month or so ago, I attended a book event – I’m an English professor, so I find a particular joy in attending the many book events offered in Washington, DC. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman recently penned “The Confidence Code” – some of you may know it. In preparing for this conference and thinking of what I would say to all of you I reached out to Claire Shipman. Here’s what she said:

“If you only remember one thing from this book, let it be this: when in doubt, act. Every piece of research we have studied, and every interview we have conducted, leads to the same conclusion: nothing builds confidence like taking action, especially when the action involves risk and failure. Risk keeps you on life’s edge. It keeps you growing, improving and gaining confidence. By contrast, living in a zone where you’re assured of the outcome can turn flat and dreary quickly. Action separates the timid from the bold.”

I can already tell that this group of women is not afraid of risk – you are women who take action. I am so pleased to be in Morocco, the Gateway to Africa. To his Royal Highness Mohammed VI, thank you for welcoming us to your magnificent country. It’s an honor to have Minister Delegate Mbarka Bouida here with us this evening. She represents Morocco on the world stage, and has been a key partner in making the Global Entrepreneurial Summit a great success.  

This summer, I traveled to Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to Sierra Leone. The trip, in preparation for the US Africa Leaders Summit, focused on the importance of girls’ education and women’s participation in government, the economy, and civil society. Each time I have traveled to Africa, I have had the opportunity to meet with doctors and nurses, political leaders and entrepreneurs, teachers and students – all of whom share a common purpose: to give back, to build a stronger community, and to move their countries forward. And I have seen what a difference these individuals are making. Today, I would like to share a few stories from this trip that inspired me, stories of hope and opportunity, stories of a new Africa.

Our first stop in Africa was Zambia, where we visited a small, open-air health clinic that is making a big difference. Women in the United States are regularly tested for cervical cancer through a Pap smear, but in Zambia, doctors do not have access to the same type of medical equipment. So, a group of entrepreneurial physicians at the clinic in Zambia devised an ingenious procedure to detect cervical cancer using household vinegar, cotton swabs and a digital camera. The morning I was there, they screened more than 50 patients. One young woman I met at the clinic, Imogen, was diagnosed with cervical cancer after she was screened several years ago – she was devastated when she heard the diagnosis. But, after only six months of treatment, she returned to the clinic and was tested again. And her results came back negative. Imogen was proud to tell me that her story was not that uncommon. In fact, over 5,000 women have been screened at that health clinic and 90 percent of them have been cleared after just six months of treatment. For the past five years, Imogen has been volunteering at the health clinic, encouraging women in her community to go in for screenings and other health services, using her own experience to help others. That type of commitment and leadership is not just saving lives. It is creating a healthier community.

The next country we visited was the Democratic Republic of Congo. When we traveled to the western part of the DRC, we confronted another challenge for women: a restrictive law known as the Family Code. By law, women are prevented from working outside the home without their husband’s permission. In Kinshasa, I met with women entrepreneurs who are overcoming these obstacles and building successful businesses of their own. One of these women, Therese, is a savvy, resilient innovative engineer. After she earned her degree, she converted an outdoor restaurant with dirt floors into a business, manufacturing and selling traffic-directing robots.

Why robots? Kinshasa has a population over 9 million people and virtually, literally, no traffic lights, which makes the streets incredibly dangerous – especially for children. Not only do the eight-foot tall, solar-powered metallic robots look impressive, but they actually work. People respect the robots, and the busy streets of Kinshasa are a little safer thanks to the ingenuity of this resourceful woman. Therese is not only breaking barriers for women in science and engineering, she is showing the power of technology to change the way we live and work.

Another woman who participated in the roundtable was Monique Giekes, an intellectual property rights attorney. Her husband threatened to lift employment approval shortly after the birth of her 4th child. She is now divorced. Monique is a lawyer working with Vlisco, a Dutch fabric manufacturer as their local distributor. As she established her successful business in Kinshasa she was moved by the stories of abused women in the eastern part of the DRC. I traveled to the Eastern Congo and saw firsthand what Monique saw – a world where two-thirds of the women have suffered sexual assault, women who were rebuilding their lives but needed job opportunities and training. So this business entrepreneur became a social entrepreneur – Monique opened a sewing school in Goma with her own money. Thirty woman were initially trained, and this number quickly doubled. I was so impressed by Monique, so moved by her commitment to change not only her own life but the lives of other women that I wanted to honor her in some way. So, the evening I met her, I made an unscheduled stop at her store and asked her to help me select a traditional Congolese dress to wear at the leaders’ dinner during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. In just a few days Monique and her staff produced an elegant turquoise wax print dress … the dress was a hit with the press, and in a small way, I was able to tell Monique’s story of how she was able to lift up other women.

Entrepreneurship can sound like a complicated, or an even an intimidating concept. In reality, it is what we women have always done – solving problems that need to be solved just as women like Imogen, Therese and Monique are doing. But they can’t do it alone. In the United States, we believe women’s empowerment is critical. So two years ago, we launched the Equal Futures Partnership. What began as a challenge to heads of state by President Obama in September of 2011 has now grown into a full-fledged multilateral initiative dedicated to breaking down barriers to women’s economic and political participation. The Equal Futures Partnership has grown to 28 members, which have made specific commitments to address discrimination against women in the political and economic spheres and to create opportunities for women to become leaders, mentors, entrepreneurs, and innovators. This effort has broadened the understanding that supporting women and girls is not about treating a vulnerable group, but rather about finally tapping into the potential of half the population.

The United States is committed to making sure girls and young women have the tools they need not just to survive – but to thrive in their communities. History and experience demonstrates that women of the Middle East and North Africa are critical change agents in society. And you are playing vital roles in shaping political transitions and building more stable societies.

Here in Morocco, women were at the forefront in working with King Mohammad VI to pass the revised Family Code which expanded legal rights to women within the framework of Islam. Earlier today, I visited the King’s Education Center for Women where I was able to meet with some impressive women who are working to improve their lives by furthering their education. I have seen that Moroccan women are not waiting for someone else to grant them the possibilities they seek, they are moving forward on their own.

The World Economic Forum shows that there is an increase in a country’s economic competitiveness when we decrease gender gaps in four key areas: health, education, politics and business. Nelson Mandela is famously remembered for saying, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I have spent the last thirty years as a professional educator so this quotation really inspires me. I continue to teach writing full-time at a community college just outside Washington, DC.

Community colleges are a lesser known, but a critical part of American’s higher education system. They are – as the name suggests –
higher education institutions uniquely able to address the needs of their communities. At the community college where I teach, I started a women’s mentoring program. The program pairs women students over the age of 30 with women faculty. The goal of the program is more than simply helping them navigate their way to graduation. It is to set them on a lifelong path, where most of all, they have the confidence they need to succeed.

I am a teacher by training, but the truth is, everyone in this room is a teacher. No matter what you do, or where you come from, you all have an impact on the young people in your life. You all have the opportunity to shape young minds. We all have the obligation to share our knowledge, to lift up other women. It is up to every one of us to make it possible for every little girl who dares to dream big.

Thank you.

Seven New African Ambassadors Present Letters of Credence at White House

Washington DC
November 25, 2014

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, seven new African Ambassadors to the U.S. presented their Letters of Credence to President Obama at an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House.

They are:

• His Excellency Joseph Henry Smith, Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana
• His Excellency Ammon Mutembwa, Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe
• His Excellency Tiena Coulibaly, Ambassador of the Republic of Mali
• His Excellency Robinson Githae, Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya
• His Excellency Mohamed Soilih, Ambassador of the Union of the Comoros
• His Excellency Agostinho Neto, Ambassador of the Republic of Angola
• His Excellency Babacar Diagne, Ambassador of the Republic of Senegal

The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco and Vice President Biden Meet – Readout

Photo: The White House
Office of the Vice President
November 19, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden and His Majesty King Mohammed VI met today and reaffirmed the strategic alliance between the United States and Morocco and our enduring friendship, which dates back more than 236 years. The Vice President thanked King

Mohammed VI for hosting the fifth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech, and both agreed on the importance of promoting economic opportunity, especially for women and young people. The Vice President and King Mohammed VI discussed how best to support Morocco’s success, and reaffirmed their dedication to work together to promote human and economic development, including through vocational training and educational exchange.

The Vice President and King Mohammed VI spoke about the wide range of global, regional, and bilateral issues on which Morocco and the United States are partners, including efforts to advance the shared priority of achieving a secure, stable, and prosperous Maghreb, Africa, and Middle East. In particular, they discussed their countries’ efforts together as part of the international coalition against ISIL. The Vice President and King Mohammed VI agreed on the importance of the non-military aspects of the struggle against violent extremism, including exposing and discrediting violent extremist recruitment and providing a compelling alternative through social and political inclusion and economic opportunity. They agreed on the need for the international community to help Libyans unite behind a peaceful path forward. The Vice President and King Mohammed VI also discussed Morocco’s important role as a gateway for trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Regarding the Western Sahara, the Vice President reaffirmed the text of the November 2013 Joint Statement between the United States and Morocco.


New U.S. Embassy Office Annex in Abuja, Nigeria Dedicated

(L-R) Undersec for Mgt Patrick Kennedy, Amb Usman of MFA and Amb James Entwistle   
Photo: US Embassy, Abuja, Nigeria

Office of the Spokesperson
Department of State
Washington, DC
November 7, 2014

In an important symbol of our commitment and enduring relationship with Nigeria, U.S. Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James F. Entwistle, and the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Managing Director for Program Development, Coordination and Support Joseph W. Toussaint, alongside local officials including Ambassador Usman Baraya, the Chief of Protocol for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dedicated the New Office Annex at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja today.

The new addition to the embassy complex in Abuja provides employees with a safe, secure, and modern workplace. With a total project budget of $162 million, the new facilities include a New Office Annex, a U.S. Marine Security Guard residence, a support annex, parking, and community facilities.

The project incorporates numerous sustainable features to conserve resources and reduce operating costs, including an extensive array of photovoltaic panels on the top deck of the parking structure, the use of occupancy sensors and light shelves at windows, and LED lighting. Sunshades at strategic locations reduce heat gain. Water-saving plumbing fixtures and the use of locally appropriate plants will reduce water use.

AECOM of Arlington, VA is the design architect and PAGE of Washington, D.C., is the architect of record. B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama constructed the multi-building addition to the Embassy complex.

Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has completed 118 new diplomatic facilities and has an additional 41 projects in design or under construction.

OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and support our staff in the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives. These facilities should represent American values and the best in American architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.