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Fatherhood in facts and figures

Every year, right before Father's Day, the US Census Bureau releases statistics and other information about dads and the day that was designed to honor them. Here are some of the facts released this year:

How the day for Dad came about

Father's Day dates back to 1910, when it was proposed by Mrs. John B. Dodd of Spokane, Wash. Spokane's mayor proclaimed June 19 of that year as the city's Father's Day. The first presidential proclamation was issued in 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. It has been celebrated annually on that date since 1971.

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The most popular Father's Day gift

Neckties head the list. A good place to buy Dad a tie or a shirt might be one of the nearly 11,000 men's clothing stores around the country. Sales at men's clothing stores approached or exceeded $800 million in May and June of last year.

Fatherhood by the numbers

There are 25.8 million fathers in the US who are part of married-couple families with children under 18.

Among these fathers:

• Twenty percent are raising three or more children under 18.

• Ten percent are raising a child under age 1.

• One in 8 is under 30.

• Four percent are 55 or older.

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• Two percent live in the home of a relative or a nonrelative.

• Sixty percent have an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

Single dads

There are 2 million single fathers, up from 393,000 in 1970. There is now one single custodial father for every six single mothers, compared with 1 in 10 in 1970.

Among these single fathers:

• Ten percent are raising three or more children under 18.

• Forty-five percent are divorced; 34 percent have never married; 17 percent are married with an absent spouse; and 4 percent are widowed.

• Ten percent are raising children under age 1.

• Twenty-two percent are under 30.

• Five percent are 55 or over.

• Thirteen percent live in the home of a relative or a nonrelative.

• Twenty-four percent have an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

More dads take care of the kids

There are an estimated 105,000 "stay-at-home" dads. The Census Bureau defines these men as married with children under 15 who are out of the labor force primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work. These fathers looked after 189,000 children in 2002.

A total of 2 million preschoolers are cared for by their fathers for more hours in a day than by any other child-care provider while their mothers are at work.