wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost

The Post Most: Local

Answer Sheet
Posted at 06:32 AM ET, 05/13/2012

Why Mother’s Day founder came to hate her creation (and more on moms, gifts, baby names etc.)

Your friendly Census Bureau has provided the following facts about mothers, children and there is some surprising history behind the annual ritual we call Mother’s Day (and that some people see as a gift from greeting card companies to themselves).

First of all, where did Mother’s Day originate and how is that the founder of the day eventually came to be arrested for protesting a Mother’s Day carnation sale?

Says the bureau:

“The driving force behind Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis, who organized observances in Grafton, W.Va., and Philadelphia on May 10, 1908. As the annual celebration became popular around the country, Jarvis asked members of Congress to set aside a day to honor mothers. She finally succeeded in 1914, when Congress designated the second Sunday in May as ‘Mother’s Day.’”

As it turns out, her mother, Ann, had started Mother’s Day Work Clubs in five cities to improve health and sanitary conditions during the Civil War; soldiers from both sides were cared for equally. After her mother died, Anna Jarvis organized memorials in what ultimately led to the congressional action on Mother’s Day.

But, according to Biography.com and other sources, Anna Jarvis eventually came to resent the commercialization of the holiday — so much so that she campaigned for its abolition — to no avail. She is said to have complained that she wanted it to be “a day of sentiment, not profit,” but it instead had become a bonanza for greeting cards which she saw as “a poor excuse for the letter you are too lazy to write.”

She and her sister spent the family assets trying to end it — and she was once arrested for protesting a sale of carnations for Mother’s Day after florists and greeting card companies realized in the early 1920s that the holiday could be a bonanza for them.

Incidentally, Anna never had children.

This leads us to these facts about the holiday from the Census Bureau:

How Many Mothers

85.4 million

Estimated number of mothers in the United States in 2009.

Source: Survey of Income and Program Participation, unpublished tabulations

4.0 million

Number of women between the ages of 15 and 50 who gave birth in the past 12 months.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2008

53%

Percentage of 15- to 50-year-old women who were mothers in 2010.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010

81%

Percentage of women who had become mothers by age 40 to 44 as of 2010. In 1976, 90 percent of women in that age group had given birth.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010

How Many Children

2.5

The total fertility rate or number of births in 2009 per woman in Utah (based on current birth rates by age), which led the nation. At the other end of the spectrum is Vermont, with a total fertility rate of 1.6 births per woman.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics

94%

The percentage of the 37.8 million mothers living with children younger than 18 in 2004, who lived with their biological children only. In addition, 3 percent lived with any stepchildren, 2 percent with any adopted children and less than 1 percent with any foster children.

Source: Living Arrangements of Children: 2004

20%

Percentage of all women age 15 to 44 who have had two children. About 47 percent had no children, 17 percent had one, 10 percent had three and about 5 percent had four or more.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010, Detailed Tables, table 1

Recent Births

4.13 million

Number of births registered in the United States in 2009. Of this number, 409,840 were to teens 15 to 19 and 7,934 to women age 45 to 54.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics

25.1

Average age of women in 2008 when they gave birth for the first time, up from 25.0 years in 2006 and 2007. The mean age from 2007 to 2008 reflects, in part, the relatively large decline in births to women under age 25 compared with the small decline for women in the 25-39 age bracket.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics

55%

Percentage of mothers with a birth in 2010 who were in the labor force. This decreased from from 57 percent in 2008.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010, table 6

27.3%

The percentage of mothers who had given birth in the past 12 months who had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Among states, New Hampshire had the highest percentage of recent mothers in this category with 48 percent. Mothers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland also had percentages higher than the national average.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2008

83%

Percentage of women age 15 to 44 with at least a high school diploma who gave birth in the last year. For women age 30 to 44, the figure was 90 percent.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010, Table 8

Jacob and Isabella

The most popular baby names for boys and girls, respectively, in 2010.

Source: Social Security Administration

73

Number of births in the past year per 1,000 women age 15 to 44 with a graduate or professional degree. The number per 1,000 for women whose highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree was 59.7.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010, Table 4

Mothers Remembered

17,124

Number of florist establishments nationwide in 2009. The 75,855 employees in floral shops across our nation will be especially busy preparing, selling and delivering floral arrangements for Mother’s Day.

Source: County Business Patterns: 2009

The flowers bought for mom have a good chance of having been grown in California. Among the 15 surveyed states, California was the leading provider of cut flowers in 2009, accounting for 75 percent of domestic flower production ($269 million out of $359 million at wholesale value) in those states. (The data pertain only to operations with sales greater than or equal to $100,000.)

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

11,044

Number of employees of the 99 greeting-card publishing establishments in 2009.

Source: County Business Patterns: 2009

14,279

The number of cosmetics, beauty supplies and perfume stores nationwide in 2009. Perfume is a popular gift given on Mother’s Day.

Source: County Business Patterns: 2009

24,973

Number of jewelry stores in the United States in 2009 — the place to purchase necklaces, earrings and other timeless pieces for mom.

Source: County Business Patterns: 2009

Stay-at-Home Moms

5 million

Number of stay-at-home moms in 2011 — same as in 2010 and down from 5.1 million in 2009 and 5.3 million in 2008 (the estimates for 2010 and 2009 are not statistically different). In 2011, 23 percent of married-couple family groups with children under 15 had a stay-at-home mother, up from 21 percent in 2000. In 2007, before the recession, stay-at-home mothers were found in 24 percent of married-couple family groups with children under 15.

Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements Table SHP-1

Compared with other moms, stay-at-home moms in 2007 were more likely:

Younger (44 percent were under age 35 compared with 38 percent of mothers in the labor force).

Hispanic (27 percent compared with 16 percent of mothers in the labor force).

Foreign-born (34 percent compared with 19 percent of mothers in the labor force).

Living with a child under age 5 (57 percent compared with 43 percent of mothers in the labor force).

Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2007

Employed Moms (and Moms-to-Be)

55%

The proportion of mothers in 2010 with a recent birth who were in the labor force decreased slightly from 57 percent in 2008.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010 Table 6

In 2008, among states with higher than average levels of new mothers who were unemployed, the highest proportions were in Alabama and Delaware (10 percent) followed by Michigan, Alaska, Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Carolina (9 percent), along with several other states in the southeast United States.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2008 Table 11

805,137

Number of child care centers across the country in 2009. These included 75,396 centers employing 869,468 workers and another 729,741 self-employed people or other businesses without paid employees. Many mothers turn to these centers to help juggle motherhood and careers.

Source: County Business Patterns: 2009 and

Nonemployer Statistics: 2009

Single Moms

10.0 million

The number of single mothers living with children younger than 18 in 2011, up from 3.4 million in 1970.

Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements FM-2

5.2 million

Number of custodial mothers who were due child support in 2009.

Source: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009

38%

In 2010, of the 3.7 million women 15 to 44 years old who had a birth in the last year, 1.4 million (39 percent) were to women who were not married, who were separated, or married but with an absent spouse.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2010 Table 4

In 2008, this number was 1.5 million. Of those mothers, 425,000 (28 percent) were living with a cohabiting partner.

Source: Fertility of American Women: 2008

-0-

Follow The Answer Sheet every day by bookmarking www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet.

By  |  06:32 AM ET, 05/13/2012

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company