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Facts for Features
CB11-FF.11
April 20, 2011

Father's Day: June 19, 2011

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 — 101 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.

How Many Fathers?

70.1 million

Estimated number of fathers across the nation.
Source: Unpublished data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation

25.3 million

Number of fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2010.

  • 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.
Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html>

1.8 million

Number of single fathers in 2010; 15 percent of single parents were men.

  • Nine percent were raising three or more children younger than 18.
  • About 46 percent were divorced, 30 percent were never married, 19 percent were separated, and 6 percent were widowed.
  • 39 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.
Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html>

Thinking of You, Dad

8,111

The number of men's clothing stores around the country (as of 2008), a good place to buy dad a tie or shirt.
Source: County Business Patterns <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>

16,010

The number of hardware stores (as of 2008), a place to buy hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and other items high on the list of Father's Day gifts. Additionally, there were 7,009 home centers across the country in 2008.
Source: County Business Patterns <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>

22,116

Number of sporting goods stores in 2008. These stores are good places to purchase traditional gifts for dad, such as fishing rods and golf clubs.
Source: County Business Patterns <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>

81.5 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.
Source: Mediamark Research & Intelligence, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>, Table 1239

Mr. Mom

154,000

Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2010. 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 287,000 children.
Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html>

16%

In spring 2005, 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 2005/Summer 2006
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/children/cb10-123.html>

Child-Support Payments

$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.
Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support <http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf>

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.
Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support <http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf>

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.
Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support <http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf>

Time with Daddy

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.)
Source: A Child's Day: 2006 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/2006_detailedtables.html>

36%

Percentage of children younger than 6 who had 15 or more outings with their father in the last month, as of 2006.
Source: A Child's Day: 2006 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/2006_detailedtables.html>

6

Average times children ages 3 to 5 were read to by their fathers in the past week, as of 2006.
Source: A Child's Day: 2006 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/2006_detailedtables.html>

66%

Percentage of children younger than 6 who were praised three or more times a day by their fathers. Source: A Child's Day: 2006 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/2006_detailedtables.html>

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Earth Day (April 22)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)

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. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: September 09, 2014