Newsroom Archive

Facts for Features
April 21, 2009

Father's Day: June 21, 2009

The idea of Father's Day was conceived exactly 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.

64.3 million

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Source: Unpublished data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation

Thinking of You, Dad


The number of men's clothing stores around the country (as of 2006), a good place to buy dad a tie or shirt.
Source: County Business Patterns <>


The number of hardware stores (as of 2006), a place to buy hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and other items high on the list of Father's Day gifts. Additionally, there were 6,749 home centers across the country in 2006.
Source: County Business Patterns <>


Number of sporting goods stores in 2006. These stores are good places to purchase traditional gifts for dad, such as fishing rods and golf clubs.
Source: County Business Patterns <>

78 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: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009 <>, Table 1200

Mr. Mom


Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2008. 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 234,000 children. Among these stay-at-home dads, 54 percent had two or more children, and 52 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.
Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2008 <>


Among the nation's 11.3 million preschoolers whose mothers are employed, the percentage who are regularly cared for by their father during their mother's working hours. This amounted to 2.9 million children.
Source: Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005 <>

How Many Fathers?

25.8 million

Number of fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2008.

  • 22 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 (among married-couple family households only).
  • 2 percent lived in someone else's home.

Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2008 <>

1.8 million

Number of single fathers in 2008. Currently, among single parents living with their children, 16 percent are men.

  • 8 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18.
  • About 51 percent were divorced, 25 percent were never married, 19 percent were separated and 5 percent were widowed.
  • 43 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2008 <>


Among the 30.2 million fathers living with children younger than 18, the percentage who lived with their biological children only. In addition, 11 percent lived with stepchildren, 4 percent with adopted children and fewer than 1 percent with foster children.
Source: Living Arrangements of Children: 2004 <>

Child-Support Payments


Percentage of custodial fathers who were due child support. They numbered 678,000.
Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support <>

$2.4 billion

Amount of child support received by custodial fathers in 2005; they were due $3.3 billion. In contrast, custodial mothers received $22.4 billion of the $34.7 billion in support that was due.
Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support <>


Percentage of custodial fathers who received all child support that was due, not significantly different from the corresponding percentage for custodial mothers. These fathers received an average of $6,210 in child support in 2005, compared with $5,981 for mothers who received full support. (These figures are not statistically different from each other.)
Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support <>


Percentage of custodial fathers with child-support agreements or awards.
Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support <>


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 59 percent.
Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support <>

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 <>


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 <>


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 <>


Percentage of children younger than 6 who were praised three or more times a day by their fathers.
Source: A Child's Day: 2006 <>

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)
  • 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: <>.

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