Mother’s Day by the numbers

Carnations are a typical Mother's Day flower, with white ones usually worn or given in honor of mothers who have passed away. | Stock image of flowers, with graph overlay image via iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

FEATURE — In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a grab bag of random numerical facts related to mothers:


Year in which Anna Marie Jarvis first observed Mother’s Day in honor of her own mother Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, who died in 1905. Three years later, the younger Ann conducted a memorial service in West Virginia, saying during her sermon, “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mothers day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.” The idea caught on and Mother’s Day was born. In 1914, it was officially recognized by the United States Congress and President Woodrow Wilson, and designated as the second Sunday in May. Years later, Jarvis herself actively fought to have the holiday abolished after she saw it as having become overly commercialized.


Number of children born to the most prolific mother ever, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. During the 18th century, a peasant woman in Shuya, Russia, known as Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev, reportedly gave birth to four sets of quadruplets, seven sets of triplets, and 16 pairs of twins for a total of 69 children in 27 pregnancies. Two of the babies reportedly died in infancy.


Average number of children born per woman in the western African nation of Niger, the highest fertility rate in the world as of 2017, according to the Population Reference Bureau. The top 15 highest fertility rates in the world are countries located in western and central Africa. By comparison, the United States has a total fertility rate of 1.8 children per woman, according to the same source. Utah, which is usually at or near the top among U.S. states, reportedly has a current fertility rate of 2.24.


Number of dollars per person that Americans will spend on Mother’s Day in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. The NRF adds that total spending is expected to reach a near-record $23.1 billion this year, with approximately 86 percent of Americans celebrating Mother’s Day. Some of the popular spending categories include jewelry, flowers, dining out, gift cards, clothing and electronics. No figures were apparently available for homemade gifts using construction paper, crayons, glitter and handpicked dandelions.


Percentage of children who reported thinking that their mothers fake their positive reactions to Mother’s Day gifts, according to a recent Groupon survey. Click here to view the full press release with illustrated survey results at


Number, in millions, of Mother’s Day cards sent via mail in the United States each year, according to Hallmark, which notes that Mother’s Day is the third-largest card-sending holiday and the second-largest gift-giving day in the United States. Additionally, nationwide, more than 120 million phone calls are made to mothers each Mother’s Day.


Percentage of births in the United States in 2016 that were to millennial women (born from 1981 to 1996), according to the Pew Research Center, which notes that the number of millennial mothers has grown rapidly in recent years, with 1.2 million first-time millennial moms in 2016, bringing the total number of women in that generation who’ve had at least one child by now to more than 17 million.

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