Fourth of July weekend is meant for celebrating liberty, and that often translates into people feeling free to splurge on parties, drink to excess, and play with fireworks. By one estimate, underage males are more than twice as likely to wind up in alcohol-related visits to the ER this weekend, and consumers in the 18- to 24-age category are expected to spend the most money over the holiday ($379), with men spending more than women.
A survey from Visa has it that the average American will spend $216 on travel, food, entertainment, and of course, fireworks and beverages this weekend. Men spend more than women, on average ($247 vs. $182), young people spend more than older folks ($379 for 18- to 24-year-olds, $155 for 50- to 64-year-olds), and Southerners spend more than residents of other parts of the country—$263, on average, compared to $146, $178, and $230 in the Northeast, Midwest, and West, respectively.
Ostensibly, a young man living in the South will whoop it up and party the most this weekend, a theory that doesn’t sound too far-fetched.
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Not coincidentally, it is also young men who are much more likely to require a trip to the ER this weekend. A USA Today story cites a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealing that during Independence Day weekend of 2009—when the Fourth fell on a Saturday—the number of males under age 21 visiting to the ER related to alcohol was more than double the average day. On July 3, 4, and 5 of 2009, the daily average of underage males heading to the ER due to alcohol was 622, compared to 304 on other days.
In a separate, equally unsurprising study from the Consumer Safety Products Commission, one-third of all fireworks injuries hurt children ages 10 to 19, and 73% of all fireworks-related injuries are sustained by males.
Have a fun and safe holiday weekend. If you’re a young man especially, use your head. And if you’re not a young man, it may be wise to steer clear of all the young men apt to get dangerously festive while celebrating the Fourth.