May 5, 2003

Mother's Day facts paint a changing reality
___Although Baptist churches nationwide celebrate Mother's Day as though it were a religious holiday, the day does not have its roots in the church.
___Mother's Day first was observed in 1907 at the request of Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia to honor her deceased mother. Two years later, Jarvis and friends began a letter-writing campaign to create a national Mother's Day observance. Soon after, in 1914, Congress passed legislation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.
___As the annual observance rolls around May 11, the United States Census Bureau has estimated 75 million mothers of all ages are alive today.
___Kentucky takes the honor for the highest percentage of female residents who are mothers. In the Bluegrass State, 67 percent of women ages 15 to 44 are mothers, compared to the national average of 57 percent.
___The Census Bureau also has documented a downward trend on women becoming mothers. Currently, 81 percent of women 40 to 44 years old are mothers, compared to 90 percent in 1980.
___Mothers also are having fewer children, the Census Bureau added. Only about 11 percent of women end their childbearing years with four or more children, compared with 36 percent in 1976.
___The average number of children women today can expect to bear in their lifetime is two--unless the mothers live in Utah. The average there is three, the highest in the nation.
___The median age of women when they give birth for the first time also continues to rise. Today the median age is 24.8, meaning one-half of first-time mothers are above this age and one-half are below. The median age has risen nearly three years since 1970.
___Mothers today face 1-in-33 odds of delivering twins and 1-in-539 odds of having triplets or other multiple births.
___For the first time in nearly four decades, the percentage of mothers who work outside the home is declining. Currently, 55 percent of mothers with infant children are in the labor force, down from a record 59 percent in 1998. The Census Bureau began collecting the data in 1976, when 31 percent of these mothers were in the labor force.
___This year, 10 million mothers with children under 18 will observe Mother's Day without a husband, up from 3 million in 1970.
___And finally, those flowers given to mom on Mother's Day are most likely to have been grown in California or Colombia. Among states, California was the leading provider of cut flowers in 2001, alone accounting for more than two-thirds of the nation's total domestic production. Meanwhile, the value of U.S. imports of cut flowers from Colombia, the leading foreign supplier to the United States, during 2002 was $289 million.

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