Spokane? Fairmont? The origins of Father’s Day remain disputed – Spokane, Washington, often lays claim to holding the first modern Father’s Day in 1910 – but the first recorded Father’s Day celebration, in Fairmont, West Virginia, was anything but celebratory. More than a thousand children were left fatherless after the Monongah Mine disaster in 1907 killed more than 350 men. In July 1908, Father’s Day was held to honor the fathers lost in the disaster and, indeed, all Fairmont fathers.
These days, of course, a new tie or a dinner out are more synonymous with Father’s Day than actually honoring dad. But that got us thinking – which cities do the best job of making dad’s job a little easier, year-round?
Mirroring our Best Cities for Moms ranking, we decided to take a look at a few universal factors that can make a dad’s life more pleasant, and maybe more fun. Does a city have good schools? Does it have plenty of opportunities this Father’s Day for Dad to sneak off and play a few holes, or grab a beer and catch a baseball game? Again, almost all of the factors we looked at could apply to either Mom or Dad—but this month it’s Dad’s turn to take a break.
To compile the rankings, we started with the 100 biggest cities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. We then looked five factors, equally weighted, to tell us about the quality of life for resident fathers, using the most recent available data:
Dads-per-capita: The percentage of fathers in each city with one or more children under 18 years old, according to the Census.
Educational quality: The overall caliber of public schools in each city based on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best. Scores are from Great Schools, which ranks schools based on standardized test performance.
Quality time with kids: Sure there are lots of things Dad can do with the kids, but we decided to look at a ubiquitous American classic, played in big cities and small towns across the country: little league (specifically, the number of little leagues-per-dad), with data from Citysearch.
Cardiologists: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men age 25-54, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For Dad’s health, we decided to look at the number of cardiologists-per-dad, with data from HealthGrades. HealthGrades doctors must be affiliated with a high-quality hospital, free of state sanctions, disciplinary actions, malpractice judgments, and monetary settlements in the last five years, and be board certified in his/her practice specialty.
Father’s Day fun: Again, we used Citysearch to find the number of public golf courses and sports bars-per-dad in each city.
Do you live in a father-friendly city? Read on to find out.
Russell Tracy/Eclipse Sportswire/Newscom
Dads-per-capita rank (among 100 largest cities): 57
Little leagues-per-Dad rank: 2
Cardiologists-per-Dad rank: 33
Father’s Day fun day rank: 18
School quality (1-10 scale): 6
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