Father's Day is June 16, and it's a great opportunity to reflect on the role dads play in society. While some people are most familiar with pop-culture fathers—either in a negative way (Darth Vader comes to mind) or a positive way (such as Phil Dunphy)—many people draw from their own experiences. For instance, it's likely that many people remember dad teaching them how to read, tie their shoes, play basketball, or ride a bike, and statistics show that the experiences were likely as formative for dads as they were for kids.
Aside from being a federally sanctioned, greeting-card occasion, Father's Day is a chance to think about all the ways dads have helped shape their children's lives. For example, while male role models are crucial to the development of young boys, did you know that the academic and vocational aspirations of young women are directly affected by their relationships with their dads? It's just as important for young women to have strong male role models, if not more so, than for their male counterparts; this can affect their socialization, especially in college and once they become sexually active.
In addition, it may not be possible for parents to share the housework or child care equally. But that may not be a bad thing; children who see their parents take on flexible gender roles may be able to think more creatively in terms of the roles they will take on later in life. Drawing on information from several online resources, we've compiled 25 facts and figures about fathers and Father's Day.
Read on to find out some cool facts to share with a dad this Father's Day.
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Father's Day is the fourth-largest card-giving occasion in the United States, according to Hallmark. About 20% of Father's Day cards are purchased for husbands and about 50% for dads.
A 2014 University of British Columbia study found that fathers who do more chores at home have daughters who grow up with higher career aspirations. The study looked at 326 children ages seven to 13 and at least one of their parents.
Fathers see their role as parents as central to their identity, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey. In fact, 57% of fathers agreed with this statement compared with 58% of mothers.
Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain as an homage to his father, who in 1896 died of typhoid fever because of a contaminated water supply. Taylor also witnessed the quick spread of dysentery at the Packard Motor Car Company from another case of unsanitary water. He devoted his life to creating safe drinking water in public places and developed the Puritan Sanitary Fountain in 1912.
Interestingly, the father of our country, George Washington, had no biological children of his own. He adopted his two children from his wife Martha Custis's first marriage.
Frank and Nancy Sinatra hold the distinction of being the only father-daughter duo to hit the top spot on Billboard's pop music chart with their 1967 single, “Something Stupid.” The song hit #7 on the year-end, “hot 100” recap, and led to Frank earning his sixth Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year.
Father's Day was conceptualized by Sonora Smart Dodd, who thought of the holiday while listening to a sermon on Mother's Day in church with her father. Though she had the idea in the early 1900s, the holiday was not made official until President Richard Nixon's 1972 declaration. Dodd intended to honor her father, a Civil War veteran, who raised her along with her five siblings after her mother died during childbirth.
Researchers at the University of Florida found that daughters whose fathers were more involved with their lives as teens were likely to have safer sex lives as college students. The researchers believe that the consistency of male attention in a young woman's life affects the number of sexual partners she will have, as well as the level of safe sex she will practice.
Stay-at-home and single fathers have grown in number significantly in recent decades, with at least 1.45 million at-home dads as of 2009, according to what the National At-Home Dad Network considers being the most accurate count. This definition includes dads who are the daily, primary source of care for at least one child under the age of 18. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put the number at 1.45 million in 2013.
Fathers are still seen as providers more so than are mothers; increasingly, both parents are expected to provide income. In 2013, 41% of Americans said it's important for a father to provide income, compared with 25% saying the same for mothers, according to Pew studies. However, 67% of the public agreed that having women in the workforce makes it easier to provide a comfortable family life.
Genetically, mammals are more like our fathers than our mothers, according to a 2015 study at the University of North Carolina. If a disease is passed down genetically, for example, its severity can be different depending on whether from the father or the mother.
We all know women experience hormonal changes when they're pregnant. But recently, University of Michigan researchers discovered that men experience drops in testosterone and estradiol, a form of estrogen, when thinking of becoming a father. Those experiencing more significant hormonal changes are likely more engaged with their babies and supportive of their spouses during pregnancy.
According to the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau data, 19.7 million children live without a father in the home. That's more than one in four kids. The situation can have negative effects on economic, behavioral, and social development for the children, including increased risk of incarceration and increased risk of poverty.
When fathers are involved in their children's education, kids retain information better, achieve more in school, and demonstrate healthier emotions, according to fatherhood.com. Those facts bear out even when the fathers do not live with the children.
A 2008 study at the University of New Hampshire found that the birth of a child for married white and Hispanic men was tied to an increase in annual earnings and time spent at work. There was a similar correlation for black men, though the rate of increased earnings was smaller.
The percentage of childless men who want to become fathers someday is nearly equal (44%) to the percentage of childless women who imagine themselves having a family at some point (50%), according to a 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center. In contrast, 35% of men and 22% of women who do not have children say they are unsure if they would like to.
As of 2008, there were roughly 70.1 million fathers in the United States, according to the most-recent figures available from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2014, 24.7 million fathers were part of married couples and 1.9 million were single fathers.
Famous pop-culture dads include Homer Simpson on “The Simpsons,” Danny Tanner on “Full House,” and Phil Dunphy on “Modern Family.” On the other hand, some of the worst dads in pop culture are Darth Vader, Dr. Evil, and Harry Wormwood (Matilda's dad).
Although we are all familiar with baby talk by mothers—it's even called “motherese”—apparently dads take a different approach in talking to their kids. Researchers at Washington State University who studied this found that dads tend to talk to their babies or young children in the same tone as they talk to adults—which may help create a so-called “conversational bridge” to the outside world.
Work-life balance is not just a struggle for moms, but for dads, too. Kansas State University researchers found in a 2014 study that dads feel guilty balancing family and fitness and may rearrange their exercise schedules so they have time for their families after work.
According to 2016 figures from the Pew Research Center, fathers spend triple the time on child care—eight hours per week—as they did in 1965. They also spend 10 hours per week on household chores, compared with four hours in 1965.
Changing gender roles in society have not entirely changed how parents are viewed: Fathers are viewed as secondary to mothers by 53% of the American population surveyed by the Pew Research Center. Only 1% said fathers were better equipped to care for a newborn baby than mothers (excluding breastfeeding).
Seven out of 10 adults agree it'simportant for new babies to bond with both parents. And 27% said it's more important for babies to bond with their mothers, while only 2% thought it was more important for them to bond with their fathers.
Fathers paying child support payments to the mothers of their children amounted to 61% of what they were expected to contribute in 2011, but that number doesn't tell the whole story. In fact, many of the fathers who couldn't contribute financially provided baby products, such as diapers and formula, and school expenses, likely as a way to gain recognition from their children.
Fathers who spend more time with their kids are happier overall in their work life and experience fewer conflicts in their home life, according to a study in the Academy of Management Perspectives. That statistic is just about opposite for working mothers, who, as they spend more time with their kids, feel more conflicted about time they're spending at work.