There are many opinions as to who was the original Valentine, with the most popular theory that it was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. In any event, in 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside Feb. 14 to honor St. Valentine. Through the centuries, the Christian holiday became a time to exchange love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. In the 1840s, Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. The spirit of love continues as valentines are sent with sentimental verses and children exchange valentine cards at school.
Number of locations producing chocolate and cocoa products in 2004. These establishments employed 43,322 people. California led the nation in the number of such establishments with 136, followed by Pennsylvania with 122.
Number of locations that produced nonchocolate confectionary products in 2004. These establishments employed 22,234 people.
Total value of shipments in 2004 for firms producing chocolate and cocoa products. Nonchocolate confectionery product manufacturing, meanwhile, was a $5.7 billion industry.
Number of confectionery and nut stores in the United States in 2004; they are among the best sources of sweets for Valentine’s Day.
Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2005.
The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers in 2005 for all flower-producing operations with $100,000 or more in sales. Among states, California was the leading producer, alone accounting for about three-quarters of this amount ($289 million).
The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut roses in 2005 for all operations with $100,000 or more in sales. Among all types of cut flowers, roses were third in receipts ($39 million) to lilies ($76.9 million) and tulips ($39.1 million).
The number of florists nationwide in 2004. These businesses employed 109,915 people.
Number of jewelry stores in the United States in 2004. Jewelry stores offer engagement, wedding and other rings to lovers of all ages. In February 2006, these stores sold $2.6 billion worth of merchandise. (This figure has not been adjusted for seasonal variation, holiday or trading day differences or price changes.)
The merchandise at these locations could well have been produced at one of the nation’s 1,864 jewelry manufacturing establishments. The manufacture of jewelry and silverware was a $9 billion industry in 2004.
The number of marriages that take place in the United States annually. That breaks down to more than 6,000 a day.
The number of marriages performed in Nevada during 2005. So many couples tie the knot in the Silver State that it ranked fourth nationally in marriages, even though its total population that year among states was 35th.
The estimated U.S. median ages at first marriage for women and men, respectively, in 2005. The age for women rose 4.2 years in the last three decades. The age for men at first marriage is up 3.6 years.
The percentages of American women and men, respectively, who are 18 or older and currently married (includes those who are separated).
Percentage of men and women ages 30 to 34 in 2005 who had been married at some point in their lives – either currently or formerly.
Number of opposite-sex cohabitating couples who maintained households in 2005. These couples comprised 4.3 percent of all households.
Number of single men (i.e., never married, widowed or divorced) who are in their 20s for every 100 single women of the same ages.
Number of single men (i.e., never married, widowed or divorced) age 65 or older for every 100 single women of the same ages.
The number of dating service establishments nationwide as of 2002. These establishments, which include Internet dating services, employed nearly 4,300 people and pulled in $489 million in revenues.
Below are names of some romantic-sounding places:
|Valentine, Neb.||Loving County, Texas|
|Valentine, Texas||Lovington, N.M.|
|Loveland, Colo.||Loving, N.M.|
|Lovejoy, Ga.||Love County, Okla.|
|Loves Park, Ill.||Lovington, Ill.|
|Lovelock, Nev.||Romeo, Colo.|
|Love Valley, N.C.||Romeo, Mich.|
|Loveland, Ohio||Romeoville, Ill.|
|Loveland Park, Ohio||Sacred Heart, Minn.|
|Loveland, Okla.||Heart Butte, Mont.|
|Lovelady, Texas||South Heart, N.D.|
Number of places named “rose.” The red rose has long been a symbol of romantic love. Rose Hill, Va., is the most populous, with more than 15,000 residents.
(Source: American FactFinder)
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>.