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Facts for Features: Father’s Day: June 18, 2017

Press Release Number CB17-FF.12

The idea of Father’s Day was conceived 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, 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?

72.2 million

The estimated number of fathers across the nation in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available.

24.6 million

The number of fathers living in married-couple family groups with children younger than age 18 in 2016.

2.0 million

The number of single fathers in 2016 living with their children under age 18; 17 percent of single parents were men.

  • Nine percent were raising three or more children younger than age 18.
  • About 40 percent were divorced, 38 percent were never married, 16 percent were separated, and 6 percent were widowed.
  • About 46 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.


The percentage of dads who have kids with their current spouse or partner, but also have kids with someone else.

29.2 million

The number of fathers who are also grandfathers.

Thinking of You, Dad


The number of clothing stores, department stores, warehouse clubs and supercenters around the country where you could buy dad a dress shirt in 2012. Sales totaled an estimated $2.6 billion at these locations.


The number of hardware stores in 2015, a place to buy hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and other items high on the list of Father’s Day gifts. Additionally, there were 6,505 home centers across the country in 2015.


The number of sporting goods stores in 2015. These stores were good places to purchase traditional gifts for dad, such as fishing rods and golf clubs.


The number of men’s clothing stores around the country in 2015, a good place to buy dad a tie or shirt.

Stay-at-Home Dads


The estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2016. These married fathers with children younger than age 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 392,000 children under age 15.

Child-Support Payments

$3.1 billion

The amount of child support received by custodial fathers in 2013; they were due $4.2 billion. Custodial mothers received $19.4 billion of the $28.7 billion in support that was due.


The percentage of custodial fathers who received all child support that was due in 2013, not statistically different from the corresponding percentage for custodial mothers, 46.2 percent.


The percentage of custodial fathers receiving noncash support in 2013, such as gifts or coverage of expenses, on behalf of their children. The corresponding proportion for mothers was 59.9 percent.

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

Black (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)
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; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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