According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, first proposed the idea of a father’s day in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was raising six children on a farm by himself. The first Father’s Day celebration occurred on June 19, 1910, because it was the month of Smart’s birth.
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. President Richard M. Nixon signed the public law that made Father’s Day permanent in 1972.
Father’s Day has become a day to honor your father, but also a day to honor all men who act as father figures, including uncles, stepfathers, brothers, and grandfathers
Facts for Features (2011)
- How Many Fathers?
Estimated number of fathers across the nation.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
In spring 2005, the percentage of preschoolers regularly cared for by their father during their mother’s working hours.
- Child-Support Payments
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.
Percentage of custodial fathers who received all child support that was due in 2007, not significantly different from the corresponding percentage for custodial mothers.
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.
- 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.)
Percentage of children younger than 6 who had 15 or more outings with their father in the last month, as of 2006.
Average times children ages 3 to 5 were read to by their fathers in the past week, as of 2006.
Percentage of children younger than 6 who were praised three or more times a day by their fathers.