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Stats for Stories: Father’s Day: June 17, 2018

Release Number CB18-SFS.82
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According to the Library of Congress, “In June of every year, we honor fathers. The first Mother's Day was celebrated in 1914, but a holiday honoring fathers did not become official until 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson declared that the third Sunday in June would be Father's Day. President Richard Nixon made this proclamation permanent in 1972. But this doesn't mean that the holiday was not celebrated before this time.

The idea for Father's Day is attributed to Sonora Dodd, who was raised by her father after her mother's death during childbirth. While listening to a sermon at church on Mother's Day, she thought about all her father had done for her and her siblings and decided fathers should have a day, too. Because Dodd's father was born in June, she encouraged churches in her area, Spokane, Wash., to honor fathers that month. The first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane in 1910.

Over the years, the idea spread, and people lobbied Congress to establish the holiday. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson, who had signed a proclamation establishing Mother's Day, approved the idea, but never signed a proclamation for it. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event to "establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations."

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Key Stats:

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How Many Fathers?

Source: 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation.

This research brief includes these stats about fathers:

  • 72.2 million fathers across the nation in 2014.
  • 14.6 percent of fathers age 15 and over have children with more than one person.
  • 29.2 million fathers are also grandfathers.

Stay-at-Home Dads

Source: Current Population Survey, 2017 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

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Child-Support Payments

Source: Current Population Survey, April 2016.

This report includes these stats about fathers:

  • About 1 out of every 5 custodial parents were fathers (19.6 percent) in 2016.
  • $2.8 billion of child support received by custodial fathers in 2015; they were due $5 billion.
  • 35.5 percent of custodial fathers received all child support that was due in 2015.

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