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? There are an estimated 70.1 million fathers across the nation. (Source: 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. (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. (Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements)
8,111: 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)
16,010: 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)
22,116: 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)
154,000: 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)
16%: 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)
$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 Support)
53% and 71%: Percentages of children younger than 6 who ate breakfast and dinner, respectively, with their father every day. The corresponding percentages who ate with their mother were 58 percent and 80 percent. (Source: A Child’s Day, 2006)
36%: 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)
6: Average times children ages 3 to 5 were read to by their fathers in the past week. (Source: A Child’s Day, 2006)
66%: Percentage of children younger than 6 who were praised three or more times a day by their fathers. (Source: A Child’s Day, 2006)