Friday, June 15, 2007

A day for dads

The first Father’s Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington, in honor of a Civil War veteran who raised six children after his wife died in childbirth. But only in 1972 did President Nixon proclaim it an official annual event, and the U.S. is one of 37 countries celebrating Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. The second most popular date to recognize dads is Saint Joseph’s Day, or March 19th, by seven countries.

The US Census Bureau has some interesting stats on the 25.8 million married dads with children under 18: fathers are the primary care giver to 2 million preschoolers. Two million dads are single and 34 percent of those have never been married. Want to make more money? As a dad, you’re two and one-half times more likely to have an annual income of $50,000 or more if you’re married.

So how does Father’s Day compare with Mother’s Day when it comes to gifts?

Americans will spend nearly ten billion dollars on Father’s Day gifts this year, about 40% less than Mother’s Day. It’s no surprise that the #1 gift choice for dad is clothing at 28%, including 8 million neckties, followed by gift cards and tools. 95 million cards will be purchased, compared to 150 million cards for Mother’s Day. 140 million phone calls will be made to dads on Father’s Day, with 150 million to moms on Mother’s Day, but more of the calls to dad are placed collect. On Mother’s Day 38% of adults eat out; it’s just 23% on Father’s Day.

It’s good to have a dad. Here’s the math: children from fatherless homes are 5 times more likely to commit suicide, 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.

It is appropriate to wear flowers on Father’s Day: red roses means your dad is alive, white means he has passed away. But the flower industry has not done a great job of publicizing this: statistically men are more likely to get flowers at their funeral than on Father’s Day.

That’s OK, I guess eventually we all get to smell the roses.

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