Acton Institute Powerblog

5 Facts About Fathers and Father’s Day

This Sunday is the day Americans set aside to honor their fathers. Here are 5 facts you should know about dads and Father’s Day.

1. After listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash. wanted a special day to honer her father, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. The first Father’s Day celebration, June 17, 1910, was 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.

2. Based on the unpublished Census data (2008), there are an estimated 70.1 million fathers across the nation. 24.9 million were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2015. 21 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 (among married-couple family households only).

3. In the U.S., there are an estimated 199,000 stay-at-home dads (compared to 5 million stay-at-home moms). 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 wife works outside the home. These fathers cared for upward of 368,000 children.

4. There are 1.9 million single fathers (compared to 10.3 million single mothers) living with children younger than 18 in 2015; 16 percent of single parents were men. About 45 percent were divorced, 33 percent were never married, 17 percent were separated, and 6 percent were widowed.

5. Fathers have nearly tripled the amount of time they spend with their children, from 2.5 hours in 1965 to 7.3 hours per week in 2011, according to a Pew Research report that analyzed years of time-use data. Despite that increase, 48 percent of fathers said they spent too little time with their children, compared with 25 percent of mothers who said the same; half of dads said they spent the right amount of time. Dads are also less positive about their own parenting than are moms. Just 39 percent of fathers say they are doing a “very good job” raising their children, compared with 51 percent of mothers. 

 

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).