In 1909 Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington thought of the idea of Father’s Day. After hearing a Mother’s Day sermon she thought it would be appropriate to also have a day honoring fathers. Her father in particular deserved recognition. William Smart, Sonora’s father, was a Civil War veteran, farmer and widower who had raised six children. The third Sunday of Smart’s birth month of June, 1910 was chosen by Spokane as the first Father’s Day.
National recognition in the U.S. of Father’s Day took some time. It was not until 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation commemorating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day that the holiday was officially recognized nationally. Six years later, in 1972 President Richard M. Nixon signed a law making Father’s Day a permanent fixture of the third week in June.
The U.S. Census Bureau collects data on a wide variety of aspects of life in the U.S. They have several statistics relating to fathers. A few of these follow below:
Father’s Day Statistics
- There are approximately 152 million males in the United States. Of these about 46% (70 million) are fathers.
- About 16% (25 million) of all males in the U.S. had children younger than 18 in 2011.
- In 2011 there were 1.7 million single fathers. Of these men 5% were widowed, 19% were separated, 31% were never married and 45% were divorced.
- In 2011 there were approximately 176,000 stay-at-home dads. These were classified as married fathers who had been out of the work force for over a year, with a wife who works outside the home. Approximately 332,000 children were cared for by these stay-at-home days, or on average, about 1.9 children per dad.
- In 2010 approximately 17% of all U.S. preschoolers were cared for by their father while mom was at work.
- As far as a gift goes for dad on Father’s Day, there are a number of options of items to buy and places to purchase a gift. All data is from the most recent year available, 2009:
- There were 7,708 men’s clothing stores in the U.S. where you could buy a tie.
- There were 15,734 hardware stores in the U.S. where you could buy an assortment of tools. Closely related to this gift category are the 6,897 home stores around the country.
- There were 21,628 sporting goods stores in the U.S., which stocked popular gifts such as fishing gear and golf clubs.
- Just over 79 million Americans reported eating at a barbecue in 2010. Due to Father’s Day falling during prime barbecue season, many of these people ate at a barbecue on the third Sunday of June.
Happy Father's Day to all fathers out there.