Juneteenth Interest Wanes as Day Off Remains Elusive to Most Americans

The interest surrounding the Juneteenth holiday has dropped significantly compared to 2021, according to new data.

Data from real-time media monitoring platform NewsWhip Spike, compiled by Newsweek, compared public and media interest for Juneteenth between 2021 and 2022.

Focussing on the days leading up to the holiday, for 2022, there had been a 91 percent fall in social interactions and a 30 percent fall in articles produced.

The data determines public interest by the amount of social media interactions on articles and media interest as the number of articles published.

In the six days before Juneteenth 2022, there were 3,495,502 fewer social interactions and 6,681 fewer articles in 2022.

For 2021, there was a public interest total of 3,830,147, significantly higher than its 2022 total of 334,645.

In terms of media interest, the data showed a 2021 total of 22,061 articles for the period, again higher than its 2022 total of 15,380.

Juneteenth social interest 2021-22
Juneteenth media interest 2021-22

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and its name stems from the date the historic event occurred: June 19, 1865. On that day, the 250,000 African Americans still enslaved were told that the Civil War had ended and that they had been legally declared freed.

The event was made a federal holiday by Congress on June 16, 2021, and it was signed into law by President Joe Biden the next day.

Despite the historical significance, the holiday is not universally recognised in all states across the U.S. as a paid holiday.

Around 24 states and the District of Columbia are set to legally recognize Juneteenth as a public holiday this year, according to a Pew Research Center analysis which forecasts that more states will recognize it as a paid holiday next year.

June 19 falls on a weekend this year, and, therefore, some states are celebrating it on different days that week. Since the holiday was signed into federal law, multiple states have had Juneteenth as a paid holiday for employees.

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts:

  • New York,
  • Maine,
  • Louisiana,
  • Illinois,
  • Oregon,
  • Massachusetts,
  • Virginia,
  • Washington, and
  • Texas, which was the first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1980.
  • Georgia,
  • Ohio,
  • Nebraska,
  • Maryland,
  • South Dakota,
  • Colorado,
  • Connecticut, and
  • Delaware,
  • Alabama recently recognized Juneteenth as a paid state holiday, according to News Observer.

However, some states are treating Juneteenth as a day of remembrance or observance rather than a legal paid holiday. Those states include Tennessee, Florida, California, South Carolina and Mississppi.

Juneteenth day off

Interested in learning more about Juneteenth? Here's what you need to know.

Here's how Juneteenth went from a pipe dream to reality.

When it became an official holiday, however, not all Black people were impressed; here's why.

Juneteenth
people carry Juneteenth flags as they march during a Juneteenth re-enactment celebration in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 2021. Juneteenth Interest Wanes as Day Off Remains Elusive to Most Americans t/Getty