The idea of Father’s Day was conceived slightly more than a century ago by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. A day in June was chosen for the first Father’s Day celebration – 100 years ago, June 19, 1910, proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of Smart’s birth. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.
67.8 million: Estimated number of fathers across the nation.
25.8 million: Number of fathers who were part of married-couple families with children
younger than 18 in 2009. 22 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 (among married-couple family households only). 3 percent lived in someone else’s home.
1.7 million: Number of single fathers in 2009; 15 percent of single parents were men. 8 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18. About 47 percent were divorced, 29 percent were never married, 18 percent were separated, and 5 percent were widowed. 44 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.
85%: Among the 30.2 million fathers living with children younger than 18, the percentage who lived with their biological children only. In addition, 11 percent lived with stepchildren, 4 percent with adopted children and fewer than 1 percent with foster children.
8,610: The number of men’s clothing stores around the country (as of 2007), a good place to buy dad a tie or shirt.
14,193: The number of hardware stores (as of 2007), a place to buy hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and other items high on the list of Father’s Day gifts. Additionally, there were 7,150 home centers across the country in 2007.
23,756: Number of sporting goods stores in 2007. These stores are good places to purchase traditional gifts for dad, such as fishing rods and golf clubs.
76 million: The number of Americans who participated in a barbecue in the last year —
it’s probably safe to assume many of these barbecues took place on Father’s Day.
158,000: Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2009. These married fathers with children younger than 15 have remained out of the labor force for at least one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home. These fathers cared for 290,000 children. Among these stay-at-home dads, 59 percent had two or more children, and 57 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.
24%: Among the nation’s 11.2 million preschoolers whose mothers are employed, the percentage who are regularly cared for by their father during their mother’s working hours. This amounted to 2.7 million children.
(Photo: U.S. Census Bureau)
$2.8 billion: Amount of child support received by custodial fathers in 2007; they were due $4.3 billion. In contrast, custodial mothers received $18.6 billion of the $29.8 billion in support that was due.
45%: Percentage of custodial fathers who received all child support that was due in 2007, not significantly different from the corresponding percentage for custodial mothers.
67%: Percentage of custodial fathers receiving noncash support, such as gifts or coverage of expenses, on behalf of their children. The corresponding proportion for mothers was 56 percent.
53% and 71%: Percentages of children younger than 6 who ate breakfast and dinner, respectively, with their father every day in 2006. The corresponding percentages who ate with their mother were 58 percent and 80 percent. (The percentages of children who ate breakfast with their mother or father, respectively, were not significantly different from each another.)
36%: Percentage of children younger than 6 who had 15 or more outings with their father in the last month, as of 2006.
6: Average times children ages 3 to 5 were read to by their fathers in the past week, as of 2006.
66%: Percentage of children younger than 6 who were praised three or more times a day by their fathers.
Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from the U. S. Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/. Telephone: 301-763-3030; Fax: 301-763-3762; or E-Mail: [email protected]
Author with Thomas A. McAdam IV, Kings Island, 09-30-95.
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