13 Fascinating Father's Day Facts [2024]

More than three-quarters of Americans plan to celebrate Father’s Day this year. Learn some fascinating facts about the holiday’s history and how it’s celebrated today.

Father playing with daughter
Updated May 28, 2024
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Father’s Day has been a national holiday in the U.S. since the early 1970s, but the idea of devoting a day to honoring dads has been around for many years, and in some cultures, even centuries.

In the U.S., it took much longer for the holiday honoring the dads in our lives to catch on than the one honoring moms. Although Mother’s Day was made official in 1914, Father’s Day wasn’t given the same status until 58 years later, in 1972.

Read on to learn more Father’s Day facts and statistics, including how many billions of dollars Americans intend to shell out on gifts for their dads this year.

Key takeaways

  • An estimated 72 million fathers are living in the U.S. right now.

  • Americans plan to spend more than $22 billion buying gifts for the dads in their lives this Father’s Day.

  • 75% of American adults said they intend to celebrate Father’s Day in some way.

  • The percentage of stay-at-home dads doubled from Generation X to millennials.
  • Father’s Day is the fourth-largest holiday for greeting card sales, following only Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day.

Americans plan to spend almost $23 billion on dads in 2023

chokniti/Adobe Elderly father and son

In 2023, Americans expect to shell out $22.9 billion on Father’s Day celebrations, including gifts and other items (such as meals or outings), according to an annual survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF). That planned spending is up from last year’s $20 billion.

Some of the top gifts for dads are special outings, clothing, gift cards, and electronics. Not all of those billions would be going to survey respondents’ own dads, however. Although about half of the people surveyed said they would be buying for their own fathers, some planned to buy for husbands, sons, or other father figures in their lives.

(Sources: National Retail Federation)

75% of Americans intend to celebrate the holiday in some way

JenkoAtaman/Adobe Young daughter giving dad gifts

Of those polled in the NRF’s survey, 75% of people said they plan to celebrate Father’s Day in some way.

This high level of participation comes despite the growing concerns about inflation across the U.S., signaling that Americans are still prioritizing the sentimental holiday.

(Sources: National Retail Federation)

There are an estimated 72 million fathers across the U.S.

Drobot Dean/Adobe Dads reading to daughter

Let’s hope the three-quarters of Americans planning to celebrate Father’s Day this year won’t all be buying dad a tie. According to the most recent U.S. Census data available, from 2014, there are an estimated 72 million fathers currently living in the U.S.

That’s more than 60% of the 121 million adult men currently in the country.

Of these 72 million dads living in the U.S., an estimated 29 million are also grandfathers. Seven percent of those celebrating Father's Day plan to buy a gift for a grandfather.

(Sources: United States Census Bureau, The Associated Press, National Retail Federation)

Americans plan to spend nearly $196 each on the holiday

Drobot Dean/Adobe Father and daughter hugging

Those buying Father’s Day gifts — whether clothing, sports equipment, or experiences such as dining out or concert tickets — expect to spend an average of $196.

This is higher than what people expected to spend on the dads in their lives in 2022: $172.

(Sources: National Retail Federation)

43% of shoppers plan to buy their Father's Day gifts online

WavebreakmediaMicro/Adobe Father fist-bumping son

The NRF’s survey found that 43% of Father's Day spending will be done online, whereas 38% said they would go to department stores. The other respondents said they would go to discount stores or specialty shops, such as card or electronics shops.

(Source: National Retail Federation)

Father’s Day is the fourth-largest card-sending holiday

SB Arts Media/Adobe Daughter hugging father

Behind Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas, Father’s Day is the fourth-largest card-sending holiday in the U.S., according to Hallmark. The company reports that around 72 million Father’s Day cards are exchanged annually, with about 50% purchased for people’s dads.

Another 20% were designated for husbands, whereas others were purchased for grandfathers, sons, brothers, or other father-like figures.

(Sources: Hallmark, NPR)

There were an estimated 239,000 stay-at-home dads in the U.S. in 2022

Halfpoint/Adobe Father and daughter playing

As younger generations pull away from more rigid gender norms of the past, more and more fathers are deciding to stay at home, at least for a time, to focus on raising kids.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 239,000 fathers in the U.S. were stay-at-home dads in 2022 Whether stay-at-home or not, statistics show that fathers have gotten much more involved in child-rearing than they were in previous decades.

In 2016, fathers reported spending about eight hours per week on child care, which is triple the amount reported in 1965.

(Sources: United States Census Bureau, Pew Research Center)

The percentage of stay-at-home dads has doubled with millennials

Rawpixel.com/Adobe Father holding baby

Over the past 30 or so years, the percentage of fathers in the U.S. considered stay-at-home dads has nearly doubled. Because of this steep increase, fathers made up around 17% of stay-at-home parents in 2016 — up from just 10% in 1989.

Among millennial dads, who at the time of the Pew Research Center’s polling in 2016 were between the ages of 20 and 35, 6% stayed home to care for kids. By comparison, only 3% of Gen X (people born between 1965 and 1980) dads stayed home when they were the same age.

Fathers, on average, are also much more willing to stay home for the sole purpose of child care compared with decades past. In 1989, just 4% of stay-at-home dads reported that the primary reason they were home was to care for kids, compared with 24% in 2016.

(Source: Pew Research Center)

Half of working dads say it’s hard to balance work & family life

auremar/Adobe Father and son fishing

The majority of both mothers and fathers who work reported that they found it difficult to balance their careers with family time when responding to a 2015 Pew Research Center poll. The survey took both full-time and part-time working parents into account.

More than half of working fathers, 52%, said they find work-life balance challenging, whereas 60% of mothers said the same thing. Furthermore, 29% of working dads said they “always feel rushed,” as did 37% of working moms.

(Source: Pew Research Center)

Nearly half of childless men ages 18 to 49, said they wanted children

Junial Enterprises/Adobe Father and daughter hugging

According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in 2017, 44% of men 18 to 49 said that they hoped to become fathers at some point. In the same poll, 35% of men in the same age range said they were unsure about fatherhood.

For childless women in the same age group, 50% said they wanted to become mothers, whereas 22% indicated they were unsure about children.

(Source: Pew Research Center)

The first Father’s Day in the U.S. was celebrated in 1910, but it took decades to catch on

JacobLund/Adobe Father playing with son

Although a day dedicated to celebrating the nation’s mothers caught on relatively quickly in the early 20th century, giving Mother’s Day — and all the greeting card and bouquet purchases that came with it — a quick path to being named a national holiday, Father’s Day did not spark the same enthusiasm.

Technically, a day dedicated to honoring fathers in the U.S. was first observed in 1908, the same year the first Mother’s Day celebration was held in Philadelphia. In July 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the first event meant to honor American fathers. Tragically, it was a sermon held in the memory of 362 men who had died in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company mines months earlier.

The next year, Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington, moved to make Father’s Day a special day, equivalent to the Mother’s Day celebrations that had been occurring across the nation. Dodd was one of six children raised by William Jackson Smart, a widower and Civil War veteran, and she wished for the opportunity to honor her father. She was able to spark enough enthusiasm that Washington State held the nation’s first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

While President Calvin Coolidge supported the holiday in 1924, support ebbed and flowed ‌over the next few decades. President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation recognizing Father’s Day in 1966, and in 1972, President Richard Nixon officially made Father’s Day a U.S. national holiday.

(Source: History.com)

Many countries celebrate Father’s Day on March 19

eggeeggjiew/Adobe Father and child baking together

Although many countries around the world align with the U.S. and celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June, several choose to honor fathers on March 19, also known as St. Joseph’s Day.

St. Joseph’s Day honors Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and father to Jesus Christ, and dates back to medieval times. Countries with large Catholic populations, such as Italy, Spain, and some countries in Latin America, celebrate fathers on March 19.

Several other places around the world also celebrate fathers on dates inspired by religious traditions or other important figures. For example, Brazil holds the holiday on the second Sunday of August in honor of St. Joachim, Mary’s father. In Thailand, it’s held on December 5, the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

(Sources: Italian Sons and Daughters of America, Finder, History.com, HuffPost)

Father’s Day is celebrated in 111 countries around the world

Prostock-studio/Adobe Father holding daughter

The dates vary ‌from place to place, with many celebrations falling in the summer months, whereas others are in winter or even align with the beginning of spring. Still, Father’s Day, or some form of the holiday, exists in 111 countries around the world.

Although the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, India, and many more will also celebrate on June 19 this year, Australia and New Zealand celebrate the holiday on the first day of spring, the first Sunday in September down under.

In South Korea, one country that does not observe the holiday, days to honor mom and dad are combined with a Parents Day instead — held on May 8.

(Sources: Finder, 90 Day Korean)

How to celebrate Father’s Day without breaking the bank

Halfpoint/Adobe Father and son grilling

Father’s Day arriving after months of Americans dealing with inflation is not ideal for anyone trying to focus on how to save money. However, you can still get a great gift for your dad, or for whomever you’re planning on buying a Father’s Day gift, without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to show you care this Father’s Day in a financially savvy way.

  • Use rewards. Look over the best rewards credit cards to use for the gifts you plan on purchasing. You may already have credit cards that offer great rewards or may want to look into getting one. For example, some cards offer extra points for every dollar spent dining out — a great option if you plan to take dad out for a Father’s Day dinner.
  • Take advantage of summer sales. As noted earlier, many consumers look to retailers for hints about what gifts to get the dads in their lives. If you’re trying to focus on how to manage your money, you should also look at retailers — particularly at their advertisements around Father’s Day — to see whether they are running any holiday sales. Large retailers such as Macy’s or Costco may offer significant discounts on the perfect gift for dad.
  • Eat at home. Many Americans are likely planning to head out for a meal this Father’s Day, especially because COVID-19 outbreaks and regulations have made spending time together much more difficult over the past two years. However, you can have a perfectly enjoyable and much cheaper meal at home, especially if your dad is into cheaper meals such as burgers and hot dogs on the grill — both Father’s Day staples.
  • Think outside the box. There are some go-to gifts people associate with Father’s Day — think neckties, golf equipment, or tools — and ‌these can be pricey (yes, even the neckties). But there are plenty of gifts on the cheaper side that dads of all sorts can use. If you’re really struggling, browsing different sections on Amazon — such as sports or men’s fashion — may provide some inspiration.

Bottom line

Odua Images/Adobe toddler learning math and counting with her father

Despite a start to the year plagued with money issues, including inflation and high gas prices, Americans are still planning to shell out serious dough to honor the dads in their lives this Father’s Day. Although traditions and the types of gifts people give vary greatly from place to place, many of America’s 72 million dads are in for quite the treat on the big day.

If you are one of the 76% of Americans planning to celebrate the holiday this year, it may be a good idea to head to your local convenience store a bit early. Hallmark says at least one-quarter of buyers head straight for the humor aisle on Father’s Day — and you definitely don’t want to miss out on all the best dad jokes.

Sources

1. History - Father’s Day 2022

2. National Retail Federation - Consumers to Spend $20 Record Amount for Father’s Day

3. National Retail Federation - Father’s Day Data Center

4. U.S. Census Bureau - Father’s Day Fun Facts

5. The Associated Press - Census Says More than 60% of U.S. Men Are Fathers

6. Business Insider - The Worst of Inflation is Over, Congressional Budget Office Says

7. NPR - How Many Dads Does it Take to Screw in a Light Bulb? Father’s Day by the Numbers

8. Hallmark - Father’s Day

9. Pew Research Center - 8 Facts about American Dads

10. Italian Sons & Daughters of America - Feast of St. Joseph Tied to the Heart of Italian Traditions and Faith

11. Finder - Father’s Day Dates Worldwide

12. HuffPost - Father’s Day Traditions Around the World

13. Better Homes & Gardens - How Father’s Day is Celebrated in 15 Countries Around the World

14. TIME - Here’s How 9 Other Countries Celebrate Father’s Day

15. 90 Day Korean - Parents’ Day - An Annual Holiday for Mothers and Fathers

Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.