Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Census counts how we love thee

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

For Valentine's Day, the good people at the U.S. Census Bureau have taken the trouble to quantify the meaning of the day in dollars and percentages.

For example, the most popular gifts to give are flowers and candy. The wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers in 2001 was $424 million. California, the country's largest floral producer, generated $292 million, more than two-thirds of the market.

If flowers make your sweetie bloom, there are currently 24,197 florists nationwide ready to take your order.

Beloved have a sweet tooth? Although the amount of candy consumed per capita has dropped in the last four years (from 27 pounds down to 24 pounds per person), $418 million worth of chocolate has been imported within the last 10 months to 3,961 nut and confectionary stores all over America.

The Census Bureau also tracked down all the cities with Valentine's Day-themed names.

There's Valentine in Nebraska and Texas; a Loveland in Colorado, Oklahoma and Ohio (as well as a Loveland Park, Ohio); Lovelady, Texas; Lovejoy, Ga; Loves Park, Ill.; and Love Valley, N.C. Then there's Love County, Okla.; Loving County, Texas; Lovelock, Nev.; Loving, N.M.; and towns named Lovington in both New Mexico and Illinois.

Most will probably postmark your valentine next year if you send it to the post office early with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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