Numerology: Origins of Father’s Day

After years of fathers being a punch line or an afterthought, modern dads are reinventing fatherhood with $2,000 strollers, stay-at-home-dad meet-ups, and personal blogs. On the 100th anniversary of the first Father’s Day celebration, a look at the numbers.

Numerology: Origins of Father’s Day
Typography by Julie Teninbaum Typography by Julie Teninbaum

There are approximately 66,000,000 FATHERS in the U.S.


Consumers spent an average of $91 on Father’s Day in 2009.

One in Four dads spend less than an hour with their kids each day. Thirty-eight percent of working dads say they’d take a pay cut for more time with their children.

Neckties are among the least-popular Father’s Day gifts, making up just 1% of presents. But it’s a huge day for the tie makers: 10% of the 29 MILLION ties sold in the U.S. are for dad’s day. (It’s the second-biggest occasion, behind Christmas, for the $418 MILLION business.)

Father’s Day is the FIFTH most popular DINING-OUT DAY. The top three beneficiaries: Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, and Applebee’s.

The United States has an estimated 158,000 stay-at-home dads, according to 2009 U.S. Census data.

Up to 1 in 25 men suffer from male postnatal depression, aka “sad dad syndrome.”


The number of first-time dads over the age of 35 rose by 50% from 1970 to 1999. The number of dads under 30 fell by 18%.

Justin Halpern’s Twitter account, @SHITMYDADSAYS, has attracted 1,295,346 followers and spawned a sitcom pilot starring William Shatner.

7 OF THE TOP 15 TV dads, according to a 2009 survey, are from programs that aired in the ’50s or ’60s. The most beloved ever? Cliff Huxtable of The Cosby Show.

The first FATHER’S DAY observance was in Spokane, Washington, on June 19, 1910, after Sonora Dodd, a child being raised by a single father, encouraged churches to honor dads upon hearing a Mother’s Day-themed sermon.
President Nixon made it an official national celebration in 1972.

Thirteen percent of the U.S. companies offer paid paternity leave. Of the top 15 western economies, only the United States, Switzerland, and Australia do not mandate it.

For the 1989 OLDSMOBILE, General Motors launched a celeb-filled $140 million ad campaign featuring the tagline “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”


Didn’t work: Olds sales dropped 16% that year, and GM stopped producing the make in 2004.

Robert Kiyosaki’s RICH DAD POOR DAD series of personal-finance books has sold more than 25 million copies.

There are at least 2 million FATHER-SON businesses in the United States. Comcast, the New York Times Co., and Timberland are three of the larger companies that have been handed down from father to son.

100% of phrases that begin with “not your father’s” (or “not your daddy’s) are clicked.