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Thanksgiving's impact on local economy

As a nod to Thanksgiving, SANDAG’s chief economist recently analyzed national and regional statistics to give residents some perspective on the holiday and its economic impact on San Diego County.

“From time to time, it’s important to step back to get a clear view on how events and holidays affect our region,” said SANDAG Chief Economist Ray Major. “I think many people will be surprised to see how holiday-related spending and tourism affect our local economy.”

Here are some interesting facts regarding Thanksgiving and holiday-related tourism.

Thanksgiving dinner in San Diego County:

88 – percentage of households celebrating Thanksgiving

28,000 – number of turkeys consumed in San Diego region

$15,000,000 – total spent on Thanksgiving dinner

$5.18 – average amount spent on home-cooked Thanksgiving meal per resident

13 billion – number of calories consumed by San Diegans at Thanksgiving dinner

241 – number of times we would need to run to the moon and back to burn off those calories

San Diego gets a tourism boost around the hoidays:

91 – percentage of visitors who come by car

366,000 additional cars traveling to San Diego an average of 245 miles for the holidays

90,000,000 – total number of miles logged by car visitors while traveling to San Diego for the holidays (that’s 3,600 times around the world)

Black Friday sending by San Diegans:

$553,000,000 – amount San Diegans will spend in retail and online purchases on Black Friday

$163 – average amount each resident of the county will spend on Black Friday

For decades, SANDAG has served as the region’s clearinghouse for information and data. A key goal of the agency is to publish timely, relevant information that can inform the public while providing context on complex issues facing the region.

SANDAG reports and analyses typically include data on issues such as economics and public finance; engineering, planning and construction; long range transportation plans and challenges; smart development and housing; regional shifts in demographics; and crime trends and other criminal justice topics.

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For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or