The idea of Father’s Day was conceived 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 — June 19, 1910, proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of William 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.
Estimated number of fathers across the nation today. (From unpublished data.)
The number of Father’s Day cards expected to be given this year in the United States, making Father’s Day the fifth-largest card-sending occasion. (Source: Hallmark research)
Percentage of all Father’s Day cards that are purchased specifically by sons and/or daughters. Nearly 20 percent of Father’s Day cards are purchased by wives for their husbands; the remaining cards are bought for grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles and “someone special.” (Source: Hallmark research)
Percentage of Americans who plan to celebrate or acknowledge Father’s Day. (Source: Hallmark research and National Retail Federation.)
Number of sporting goods stores in 2003. These stores are good places to purchase traditional gifts for dad such as fishing rods and golf clubs.
Estimated number of “stay-at-home” dads. These married fathers with children under 15 years old have remained out of the labor force for more than one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home. These fathers cared for 245,000 children under 15.
Percentage of fathers with employed wives who were the primary caregiver for their preschooler. In contrast, 6 percent of fathers provided the most hours of care for their grade-school-aged child.
Percentage of fathers who regularly worked evening or night shifts and were the primary source of care for their preschoolers during their children’s mother’s working hours. For fathers working part-time, the proportion was 38 percent. For fathers who were not employed, it was 52 percent.
Number of fathers who are part of married-couple families with their own children under the age of 18.
Among these —
Number of single fathers, up from 400,000 in 1970. Currently, among single parents living with their children, 18 percent are men.
Among these fathers —
Number of fathers who provide child support. All in all, 84 percent of child-support providers are men, who provide median payments of $3,600 annually.
Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau Facts for Features series:
Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: (301) 763-3030; fax: (301) 457-3670; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.