U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Features: Father’s Day: June 19, 2011

WASHINGTON — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — 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Source: Unpublished data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation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

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


Thinking of You, Dad


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


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


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

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


Mr. Mom


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


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


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 Supporthttp://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf


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


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


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