Where do turkeys come from?

Ryan Holeywell | @RyanHoleywell | November 26, 2015

Image via flickr/Steve Voght.

Image via flickr/Steve Voght.

Usually, the Urban Edge focuses on demographic issues of urban communities, but in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, today we’re focusing on another topic: the demographics of turkeys.

Last fiscal year, the United States raised 237.5 million turkeys, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s approximately one turkey for every adult living in the country. Collectively, those birds were worth $5.3 billion.

Wondering where, exactly, the turkey you’re chomping on this Thanksgiving comes from? There’s a good chance he was born in Minnesota.

Minnesota is unquestionably the U.S. capital of turkey production. It generated 45.5 million birds last year. That’s about 19 percent of all U.S.-born turkeys. North Carolina and Arkansas are also leading turkey producers.

Interestingly, U.S. turkey production is relatively concentrated. Just 14 states are responsible for 87 percent of the turkeys in the U.S. Those places are mostly (but not exclusively) in the Midwest and are included in the map above.

Notably, although turkey production was down last year by 1 percent, the value of the country’s turkeys increased 10 percent. Experts have attributed those rising turkey prices to avian flu, which have wiped out many of the birds and increased the value of those that remained.

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