BIDENOMICS: Fourth of July family cookouts reach record high of $71.22

This $7.12 per person cost is a record high since the American Farm Bureau Federation began the survey in 2013.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

As families across the country gather to celebrate Independence Day, many found that the prices of common items are higher than in years past. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the grocery bill for an average cookout is up 5 percent from 2023, and almost 30 percent from five years ago.

The 2024 American Farm Bureau Federation annual marketbasket survey found that the annual cookcout, consisting of items like hamburgers, cookies, ice cream, chicken, and other items, will cost $71.22 for 10 guests. This $7.12 per person cost is a record high since the American Farm Bureau Federation began the survey in 2013.

Driving up the cost of the cookout total is beef, which is up 11 percent for 2 pounds of ground beef to $12.77 from 2023, and lemonade, which is up 12 percent from 2023 to $4.19. Two exceptions to the price increases were chicken, which is down four percent, and potato salad, which is down 4 percent as well.

"Higher prices at the grocery store reflect a number of challenges facing America’s families. Lower availability of some cookout staples and inflation are hitting people in their wallets," said AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan. "Farmers are also feeling the effects of high prices. They’re price takers, not price makers. Their share of the retail food dollar is just 15 percent, but they still pay elevated fuel, fertilizer and other supply prices." Notably, the Biden administration bragged in 2021 that the prices of an Independence Day cookout were down just 16 cents from 2020.

In addition to food costs, the price of fireworks has increased. According to Boston University associate professor Jay Zagorsky, the bulk price of fireworks jumped to $1.61 per pount in the first four months of 2024, representing a 42 percent increase. Overall, fireworks imports are only expected to reach $350 million in 2024, down from the peak of nearly $600 million in 2022.

A May WalletHub survey found that 60 percent of Americans planned to spend less money this year on Independence Day than they did in 2023. A separate survey from Bankrate found that 47 percent of Americans would be skipping a summer vacation this year., with 65 percent of those who said they were skipping vacation cited affordability concerns. Of those who plan on going on a vacation, 36 percent said they were willing to go into debt for it.

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