This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Here are five facts you should know about the holiday and about mothers in America:
1. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation that officially established the first national Mother’s Day holiday to celebrate America’s mothers. Many individual states celebrated Mother’s Day before then, but it was not until Wilson lobbied Congress in 1914 that Mother’s Day was officially set on the second Sunday of every May.
2. President Wilson established Mother’s Day after years of lobbying by the mother of the holiday, Anna Marie Jarvis and the World’s Sunday School Association. Anna Jarvis’ mother, Ann Jarvis, had attempted to establish a version of Mother’s Day during the Civil War as a time for remembrance. By the 1920s, though, Anna Jarvis became disgusted by the commercialization of the holiday. She incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association, trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and was once arrested for disturbing the peace at a Mother’s Day carnation sale. According to her New York Times obituary, Jarvis became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card. As she said, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”
3. Based on the latest Census figures (2014), there were 43.5 million mothers between the ages of 15 and 50 in 2014. These mothers gave birth to 95.8 million children. Out of those, 3.9 million women had given birth in the past 12 months. Overall, 22.3 percent of women ages 15 to 50 in 2014 had given birth to two children. About 42.4 percent had no children, 17 percent had one, 11.7 percent had three, and about 6.8 percent had four or more.
4. In 2015, the percentage of unmarried women ages 15 to 50 who had a birth in the past 12 months was 35.7 percent. About 64.3 percent of women ages 15 to 50 who had a birth in the past 12 months were married.
5. Five mothers are mentioned by name in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17): Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.