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The numbers are in for America’s moms

Editorial

Today is the nation’s 99th observance of Mother’s Day, the second Sunday of May that is set aside to honor the moms of America for all that they have done, and the sacrifices they have made.

While the day traces back observances that Anna Jarvis organized on local levels in 1908, it was six years later that she impressed upon Congress to exercise the wisdom to make this an annual observance. Congress did that in 1914, and ever since some very deserving women in our nation have been the focus of the day.

The importance of motherhood can’t be overstated. The influence a mom has on her children should never be underestimated. Fathers play critical roles in the upbringing of their children, but mom is the one a young child goes to when something’s wrong — from a “boo boo” while playing to a sudden fear that monsters are hiding beneath the bed. There is a comfort that a child gains from his or her mother than is unique.

Moms are anything but statistics, but we thought it interesting when we saw some numbers on U.S. moms that were distributed last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. For instance, 4.1 million women ages 15-50 became moms in the past 12 months.

Of U.S. women ages 15-44 in 2010, more than half — 53 percent — were mothers, with 20 percent having two children. As further evidence that America has moved away from big families that were the norm a few decades ago, only 10 percent had three children in 2010 and about 5 percent had four or more children.

The percentage of women ages 40-44 in 2010 who had given birth by that year was 81 percent, down 9 percent from the 90 percent of women in that age bracket who were mothers in America’s bicentennial year. The average age of a woman giving birth the first time in 2010 was 25.4, up two-tenths of a percent from the previous year.

The highest fertility rate? Utah, where there were 2,449 birth per 1,000 women. The lowest rate was in Rhode Island, which had a fertility rate of 1,630.5 births per 1,000 women.

Nearly nine out of 10 children — 89.7 percent — lived with their biological mothers last year, with 1.2 percent of children living with stepmothers.

In 2011, there were 3.954 registered births in the United States, with 329,797 coming to teens ages 15-19 and 7,651 coming to women ages 45-49.

As far as education, 84 percent of the women who gave birth in the previous 12 months had a high school diploma and 29.2 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher. There were 68 births per 1,000 women ages 15-50 who had a graduate or professional degree, 57 per 1,000 for women whose highest educational level was a bachelor’s degree. About 62 percent of the women ages 16-50 who gave birth in the previous 12 months were in the labor force.

What about stay-at-home moms. In 2012, there were 5 million, which was about even with findings from 2009-11. Also in 2012, stay-at-home moms were found in about one-fourth — 24 percent — of married couples with children under 15 years old.

In 2012, there were 10.3 million single moms with children under 18 years old, nearly triple the 3.4 million women in the group in 1970. Of the births to women ages 15-50 in the last 12 months, 36 percent were to single women.

We didn’t see a statistic on the number of children — regardless of age — who’ll spend time with their mothers today, but we expect it would be a big one, as will be the number of phone calls moms will get from children who are too far away to make it in to see them.

And while flowers, cards, candy, gifts, going out to lunch and the other things that will be done today to honor mom no doubt will be appreciated, our guess is that just being together for this special day is really what makes it special.