Father's Day facts


Father's Day facts

by: . | .
U.S. Census Bureau | .
published: June 11, 2014

Origins of dads' day

In June of every year, we honor fathers. The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1914, but a holiday honoring fathers did not become official until 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson declared that the third Sunday in June would be Father’s Day. President Richard Nixon made this proclamation permanent in 1972. But this doesn’t mean that the holiday was not celebrated before this time.

The idea for Father’s Day is attributed to Sonora Dodd, who was raised by her father after her mother’s death during childbirth. While listening to a sermon at church on Mother’s Day, she thought about all her father had done for her and her siblings and decided fathers should have a day, too. Because Dodd’s father was born in June, she encouraged churches in her area, Spokane, Wash., to honor fathers that month. The first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane in 1910.

Over the years, the idea spread, and people lobbied Congress to establish the holiday. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson, who had signed a proclamation establishing Mother’s Day, approved the idea, but never signed a proclamation for it. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event to “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

Fatherly Facts

70.1 million
Estimated number of fathers across the nation in 2008, the most recent year for which data are available.
- Source: Wave 2 Fertility Topical Module from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation

24.7 million
Number of fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2013.

  • 21 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 (among married-couple family households only).
  • 3 percent were a subfamily living in someone else’s home.

- Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements

2.0 million
Number of single fathers in 2013; 17 percent of single parents were men

  • • 9 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18.
  • • About 44 percent were divorced, 33 percent were never married, 19 percent were separated, and 4.2 percent were widowed.
  • • 39 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

- Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements

Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2013. 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 wife works outside the home. These fathers cared for about 434,000 children.
- Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements

In spring 2011, the percentage of preschoolers regularly cared for by their father during their mother’s working hours.
- Source: Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2011

$2 billion
Amount of child support received by custodial fathers in 2011; they were due $3.7 billion. In contrast, custodial mothers received $19.5 billion of the $31.7 billion in support that was due.
- Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2011

Percentage of custodial fathers who received all child support that was due in 2011, not significantly different from the corresponding percentage for custodial mothers, 43.6 percent.
- Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2011

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 55.0 percent.
- Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2011

Thinking of You, Dad

The number of men’s clothing stores around the country in 2011, a good place to buy dad a tie or shirt.
- Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS code (44811)

The number of hardware stores in 2011, a place to buy hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and other items high on the list of Father’s Day gifts. Additionally, there were 6,705 home centers across the country in 2011.
- Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS codes (444130) and (444110),

Number of sporting goods stores in 2011. These stores are good places to purchase traditional gifts for dad, such as fishing rods and golf clubs.
- Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County Business Patterns, NAICS code (451110),

79.1 million
The number of Americans who participated in a barbecue in 2010. It’s probably safe to assume many of these barbecues took place on Father’s Day.
- Source: GFK Mediamark Research and Intelligence as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012, Table 1240

Fatherhood: Poignant tips for papas

National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

Sometimes the best information we can get on parenting is from each other. Talking to and learning from other parents can be a great source of information and support! Here are some examples of advice and experiences that parents have shared on the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse.

What do you remember most about your children when they were young?

  • How I could hold my now 18-year-old in the crook of my arm. - Robb Concretewaverider Ayers
  • Running hugs...and when they were just learning how to talk and being told “I love you” by your kids…Makes it all worth it. - Butch Krill
  • Taking him for walks. Sitting on the grass and teaching him about the world around him. Holding his hand as we walked. Watching him learn, try, fail, and then succeed. Enjoying the sound of his laughter. - Andrew Carmichael

What advice would you give a young dad raising a newborn?

  • Be gentle, be patient, be loving. Always be there. - Theresa Berntson
  • Read to your child 30 minutes a day. By the time he reaches Kindergarten he will have would’ve learn 500 words or more. - Tiwan Spencer
  • Open a 529 College investment plan. It costs $100.00 to start and you can do it at any Federal Credit Union. - Tiwan Spencer
  • No matter what happens, never lose faith in yourself and never give up hope. - Brittian Koty Osorio
  • Tell your kids that you love them every moment and play with them. Don’t get discouraged - be strong. - Bobby Joe Bearbow
  • Father first and foremost. Everything else is secondary. - Paula Connell
  • Turn the T.V. off and spend time with your baby, as much as you can, they grow fast. Set a good example to be a man and gentleman.- Alfredo Avila
  • Love their mother, turn off your cell phone, have a job, have patience, forgive, be tough, love them, save money, and, remember, they watch EVERYTHING YOU DO...EVERYTHING. - Paulette Riffle
  • It’s worth sticking around. What matters more is the daily devotion you offer to that newborn. They will know that you love ‘em. - Bobby Maull
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