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Memorial Day Allows Time for Relaxation, Family

Memorial Day Allows Time for Relaxation, Family

Relatively few attend formal celebrations of the holiday

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A Gallup Panel poll finds Americans largely plan to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend and holiday in informal ways, by relaxing or spending time with family and friends. A fairly small number will travel or go out of town. Roughly half of Americans have specific plans to spend the holiday outdoors in some fashion. Older Americans are more inclined to stay home and relax, while younger Americans are more likely to attend a cookout or to travel.

The poll was conducted May 22-24 and surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,003 members of Gallup's household panel.

When asked what they plan to do on the Memorial Day holiday and weekend, Americans are most likely to say they plan to stay at home and relax. Twenty-one percent described their plans in these terms, not including an additional 13% who have no plans.

Many Americans will be spending the holiday with family and friends -- 17% say they will attend a family get-together, and an additional 11% plan to attend a barbecue, cookout, or picnic. Thirteen percent have more ambitious plans that include leaving town -- either by traveling on vacation (7%), camping (5%), or going to the beach (1%). An unlucky 8% will be working during the holiday weekend.

Only 3% plan to celebrate in a formal way by attending a community parade, gathering, or memorial service. An additional 4% say they plan to visit gravesites.

We'd like to learn about Americans' plans for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday and weekend. What do you, personally, plan to do on the Memorial Day weekend and holiday? [OPEN ENDED]

2006 May
22-24

%

Stay at home and relax

21

Family get-togethers

17

Cookout/Barbecue/Picnic

11

Work

8

Go out of town/Travel

7

Camping/Cabin

5

Visit gravesites

4

Attend local community events/
parades/gatherings/memorials

3

Home improvement/cleaning/repairs

3

Attend graduation parties

2

Yard work/Gardening

2

Go fishing

1

Birthday celebrations

1

Attending church

1

Go to the beach

1

Golf

*

Watching TV/sports

*

Other

8

Nothing

13

No opinion

2

Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

Memorial Day -- designed to honor American servicemen and women who died in war -- was first observed after the U.S. Civil War. It became an official national holiday in 1971, though most states had recognized the holiday long before then.

Unofficially, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer for Americans. Many Americans' planned activities will take them outdoors this weekend, weather permitting. According to the poll, half of Americans have definite plans to take part in outdoor activities, including cookouts, traveling, camping, fishing, yard work, going to the beach, and attending community events, among others.

Variations in Celebrating the Holiday

Patterns of celebrating the holiday do not differ much by demographic subgroups. There are, however, differences by age.

Americans aged 18 to 34 are more likely to say they plan to attend a cookout or picnic than are older Americans. Younger Americans are also somewhat more likely to say they plan to travel during the holiday weekend. Older Americans -- particularly those 55 and older -- are more likely to say they plan to stay at home and relax.

Planned Memorial Day Activities, by Age

Activity

Age
18 to 34

Age
35 to 54

Age
55+

%

%

%

Stay at home and relax

12

23

30

Family get-togethers

19

16

15

Cookout/Barbecue/Picnic

17

10

9

Work

11

9

4

Go out of town/Travel

11

6

6

Camping/Cabin

2

7

4

Visit gravesites

0

3

8

Attend local community events/
parades/gatherings/memorials

3

3

4

Those living in the eastern part of the country plan to be more active on the holiday -- just 14% say they will stay home and relax, significantly lower than those living in the Midwest (23%), South (21%), and West (27%). Eastern residents are somewhat more likely than those in other parts of the country to say they plan to get together with family or to say they will be working this holiday weekend.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,003 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 22-24, 2006. Respondents were randomly drawn from Gallup's household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. Gallup Panel households are sampled in such a way as to yield an initial sample that is demographically representative of the U.S. adult population. The final sample after interviewing is weighted so that it is also demographically representative of the U.S. adult population. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Gallup

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Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/22957/Memorial-Day-Allows-Time-Relaxation-Family.aspx
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