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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Happy Birthday (Eve), America

Congratulations, America—Tuesday marks the 247th commemoration of the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress. The Congress actually voted to separate from Great Britain two days earlier, and most didn't sign the document until August ... and some argue the US didn't really become a country until we began operating under the Constitution in 1789.

Still, since then, the country has grown from 13 colonies with about 2.5 million people to 50 states and 14 territories with a population of more than 330 million. The economy has swelled to over $26T, with a median household income above $70K.

Scientific and technological advances—public sanitation, the germ theory of disease, and more—have revolutionized public health, with our citizens living 35 years longer on average since the mid-20th century. Deaths during childbirth have dropped fiftyfold, while the child mortality rate—the percentage of children dying before age five—has plummeted from 45% to 1%.

We've built almost 4 million miles of paved roads and more than 5,000 public airports. More than 2.7 million miles of power lines electrify the country, with about 85% of households having access to broadband internet and 92% having at least one computer. In 1800, 95% of the population lived in rural areas, and now about 83% live in urban areas.

Almost 90% of adults have a high school degree or equivalent, while just over one-third have a college degree. About 45 million immigrants call America home—the most of any country—while a roughly equal number of international tourists visit each year.

While there will always be challenges to face and improvements to make, we've come a long way since the beginning. So grab a hot dog (or alternative) and your drink of choice—here's to the next 247 years.

PS—Please be careful with fireworks, unlike this family.

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