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Facts for Features
CB12-FF.08
March 19, 2012

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Mother's Day: May 13, 2012

The driving force behind Mother's Day was Anna Jarvis, who organized observances in Grafton, W.Va., and Philadelphia on May 10, 1908. As the annual celebration became popular around the country, Jarvis asked members of Congress to set aside a day to honor mothers. She finally succeeded in 1914, when Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

How Many Mothers

85.4 million

Estimated number of mothers in the United States in 2009.
Source: Survey of Income and Program Participation, unpublished tabulations

4.0 million

Number of women between the ages of 15 and 50 who gave birth in the past 12 months.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/fertility/data/cps/2008.html> Table 2

53%

Percentage of 15- to 50-year-old women who were mothers in 2010.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/fertility/data/cps/2010.html> Table 1

81%

Percentage of women who had become mothers by age 40 to 44 as of 2010. In 1976, 90 percent of women in that age group had given birth.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/fertility/data/cps/2010.html> Table 1

How Many Children

2.5

The total fertility rate or number of births in 2009 per woman in Utah (based on current birth rates by age), which led the nation. At the other end of the spectrum is Vermont, with a total fertility rate of 1.6 births per woman.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_01.pdf>

94%

The percentage of the 37.8 million mothers living with children younger than 18 in 2004, who lived with their biological children only. In addition, 3 percent lived with any stepchildren, 2 percent with any adopted children and less than 1 percent with any foster children.
Source: Living Arrangements of Children: 2004 <http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p70-114.pdf>

20%

Percentage of all women age 15 to 44 who have had two children. About 47 percent had no children, 17 percent had one, 10 percent had three and about 5 percent had four or more.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010, Detailed Tables, table 1 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/fertility/data/cps/2010.html>

Recent Births

4.13 million

Number of births registered in the United States in 2009. Of this number, 409,840 were to teens 15 to 19 and 7,934 to women age 45 to 54.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm>
<http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db58.htm#U.S.>

25.1

Average age of women in 2008 when they gave birth for the first time, up from 25.0 years in 2006 and 2007. The mean age from 2007 to 2008 reflects, in part, the relatively large decline in births to women under age 25 compared with the small decline for women in the 25-39 age bracket.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_01.pdf>

55%

Percentage of mothers with a birth in 2010 who were in the labor force. This decreased from from 57 percent in 2008.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010, table 6 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/fertility.html>

27.3%

The percentage of mothers who had given birth in the past 12 months who had a bachelor's degree or higher. Among states, New Hampshire had the highest percentage of recent mothers in this category with 48 percent. Mothers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland also had percentages higher than the national average.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p20-563.pdf>

83%

Percentage of women age 15 to 44 with at least a high school diploma who gave birth in the last year. For women age 30 to 44, the figure was 90 percent.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010, Table 8 <http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p20-563.pdf>

Jacob and Isabella

The most popular baby names for boys and girls, respectively, in 2010.
Source: Social Security Administration <http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/>

73

Number of births in the past year per 1,000 women age 15 to 44 with a graduate or professional degree. The number per 1,000 for women whose highest level of education was a bachelor's degree was 59.7.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010, Table 4 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/fertility/data/cps/2010.html>

Mothers Remembered

17,124

Number of florist establishments nationwide in 2009. The 75,855 employees in floral shops across our nation will be especially busy preparing, selling and delivering floral arrangements for Mother's Day.
Source: County Business Patterns: 2009 <http://censtats.census.gov/cgi-bin/cbpnaic/cbpdetl.pl>

The flowers bought for mom have a good chance of having been grown in California. Among the 15 surveyed states, California was the leading provider of cut flowers in 2009, accounting for 75 percent of domestic flower production ($269 million out of $359 million at wholesale value) in those states. (The data pertain only to operations with sales greater than or equal to $100,000.)
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1072>

11,044

Number of employees of the 99 greeting-card publishing establishments in 2009.
Source: County Business Patterns: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>

14,279

The number of cosmetics, beauty supplies and perfume stores nationwide in 2009. Perfume is a popular gift given on Mother's Day.
Source: County Business Patterns: 2009 <http://censtats.census.gov/cgi-bin/cbpnaic/cbpdetl.pl>

24,973

Number of jewelry stores in the United States in 2009 — the place to purchase necklaces, earrings and other timeless pieces for mom.
Source: County Business Patterns: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>

Stay-at-Home Moms

5 million

Number of stay-at-home moms in 2011 — same as in 2010 and down from 5.1 million in 2009 and 5.3 million in 2008 (the estimates for 2010 and 2009 are not statistically different). In 2011, 23 percent of married-couple family groups with children under 15 had a stay-at-home mother, up from 21 percent in 2000. In 2007, before the recession, stay-at-home mothers were found in 24 percent of married-couple family groups with children under 15.
Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements Table SHP-1 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html>

Compared with other moms, stay-at-home moms in 2007 were more likely:

  • Younger (44 percent were under age 35 compared with 38 percent of mothers in the labor force).
  • Hispanic (27 percent compared with 16 percent of mothers in the labor force).
  • Foreign-born (34 percent compared with 19 percent of mothers in the labor force).
  • Living with a child under age 5 (57 percent compared with 43 percent of mothers in the labor force).

Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2007 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/p20-561.pdf>

Employed Moms (and Moms-to-Be)

55%

The proportion of mothers in 2010 with a recent birth who were in the labor force decreased slightly from 57 percent in 2008.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/fertility/data/cps/2010.html> Table 6

In 2008, among states with higher than average levels of new mothers who were unemployed, the highest proportions were in Alabama and Delaware (10 percent) followed by Michigan, Alaska, Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Carolina (9 percent), along with several other states in the southeast United States.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/fertility/data/cps/2008.html> Table 11

805,137

Number of child care centers across the country in 2009. These included 75,396 centers employing 869,468 workers and another 729,741 self-employed people or other businesses without paid employees. Many mothers turn to these centers to help juggle motherhood and careers.
Source: County Business Patterns: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/> and
Nonemployer Statistics: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/econ/nonemployer/>

Single Moms

10.0 million

The number of single mothers living with children younger than 18 in 2011, up from 3.4 million in 1970.
Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html> FM-2

5.2 million

Number of custodial mothers who were due child support in 2009.
Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p60-240.pdf html>

38%

In 2010, of the 3.7 million women 15 to 44 years old who had a birth in the last year, 1.4 million (39 percent) were to women who were not married, who were separated, or married but with an absent spouse.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/fertility/data/cps/2010html> Table 4

In 2008, this number was 1.5 million. Of those mothers, 425,000 (28 percent) were living with a cohabiting partner.
Source: Fertility of American Women: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p20-563.pdf>

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>.

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