Suggestions for great deals for dad on Father’s Day
The best gifts for Father’s Day may not be found at the store

Facts and figures for Father’s Day 2013

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.

Father_son_380x253A day in June was chosen for the first Father's Day celebration, June 17, 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 Pres. Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Father's Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when Pres. Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

Father’s Day spending

Americans will spend a little bit more on dad this year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. The average person will spend $120 on dad’s gifts this year, up from $117 last year. Total spending for Father’s Day is expected to reach $13.3 billion.

Consumers will mostly stick to the traditional gifts for dad, but some will surprise dad with clothing, electronic items, and special outings.

Those celebrating Father’s Day will spend $2.5 billion on a special outing, such as a sporting event or dinner; $1.7 billion on a new electronic gadget, such as a tablet or GPS system; and $1.8 billion on clothing, according to the survey. 

On gift cards, families will spend about $1.8 billion on a card so dad can pick out something he lovers. Others will purchase home improvement and gardening tools, $755 million; sporting goods, $710 million; personal care items, $707 million; and automotive accessories, $592 million.

American fathers

Who are American fathers? Here are facts and figures about the nation’s fathers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Number of fathers

70.1 million

Estimated number of fathers across the nation in 2008, the most recent year for which data are available.

Number of fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2012.

  • 21 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18, among married-couple family households.
  • 3 percent were a subfamily living in someone else's home.

1.96 million

Number of single fathers in 2012; 16 percent of single parents were men.

  • 9 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18.
  • About 44 percent were divorced, 31 percent were never married, 20 percent were separated, and 5 percent were widowed.
  • 42 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

Stay at home dads


Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2012. These married fathers with children younger than 15 have remained out of the labor force for at least one year mainly so they can care for the family while their wife works outside the home. These fathers cared for more than 369,000 children.


Percentage of preschoolers regularly cared for by their father during their mother's working hours in the spring of 2011.

Child support payments

$1.9 billion

Amount of child support received by custodial fathers in 2009. They were due $3.5 billion. In contrast, custodial mothers received $19.5 billion of the $31.7 billion in support that was due.


Percentage of custodial fathers who received all child support that was due in 2009, not significantly different from the corresponding percentage for custodial mothers, 42 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 58 percent.

Best wishes to dads everywhere on this, your special day of recognition.

Copyright 2013, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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