Fathers by the Numbers

Updated May 16, 2021 | Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Facts about dads from the U.S. Census Bureau

Related Links


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—more than100 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 in 2008, the most recent year for which data are available.

24.9 million

Number of fathers who 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 percent were living in someone else's home with their families.

1.9 million

Number of single fathers in 2015; 16 percent of single parents were men.

  • 9 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18.
  • About 45 percent were divorced, 33 percent were never married, 17 percent were separated, and 6 percent were widowed.
  • About 47 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.


The number of clothing stores, department stores, warehouse clubs and supercenters around the country where you could buy dad a dress shirt in 2012. Sales totaled an estimated $2.6 billion at these locations.

$20.4 billion

The estimated sales of hardware stores in 2012. There were 15,454 establishments in 2012 that sold tools and plumbing and electrical supplies. Included in those hardware stores were 8,514 establishments that sold ladders and scaffolding.


The number of sporting goods and recereational establishments in 2012, reporting $40.7 billion in total sales. Golf equipment was sold in 5,591 of those establishments, accounting for $2.1 billion in total sales.


Number of men 's clothing stores around the country in 2014, a good place to buy dad a tie or shirt.


Number of hardware stores in 2014, a place to buy hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and other items high on the list of Father 's Day gifts. Additionally, there were 6,561 home centers across the country in 2014.


Number of sporting goods stores in 2014. These stores were good places to purchase traditional gifts for dad, such as fishing rods and golf clubs.


Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2015. 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 about 368,000 children.


In spring 2013, the percentage of preschoolers regularly cared for by their father during their mother 's working hours.

Child-Support Payments

$3.1 billion

Amount of child support received by custodial fathers in 2013; they were due $4.2 billion. In contrast, custodial mothers received $19.4 billion of the $28.7 billion in support that was due.


Percentage of custodial fathers who received all child support that was due in 2013, not statistically different from the corresponding percentage for custodial mothers, 46.2 percent.


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 59.9 percent.

More from Father's Day
Sources +