Honoring motherhood by the numbers

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Plan on giving Mom flowers for Mother's Day?

Chances are, unless you picked them yourself, they may have been grown in California or Colombia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Golden State was the leading provider of cut flowers in 2005, accounting for more than two-thirds of the domestic flower production ($289 million out of $397 million) in the 36 states surveyed in 2005. Imports led them all, however, with $418 million worth of flowers coming in from Colombia last year.

Once the flowers get here, more than 113,270 employees of more than 22,000 florist establishments will be busy preparing, selling and delivering floral arrangements for Mother's Day.

Play to give Mom a card?

More than 150 million will be sent this year in the United States, making Mother's Day the third-largest card sending occasion.

Months ago, many of the 14,318 employees of the 114 greeting-card publishing establishments were busy creating Mother's Day greeting cards.

How about a gift?

You have your choice of nearly 12,000 cosmetics, beauty supply or perfume stores nationwide, or 28,527 jewelry stores in the United States.

We hope you take time to honor your mother this weekend.

If your mother is no longer with us, how about honoring another mother close to you? It shouldn't be hard; some 80.5 million women in the United States are mothers.

And some other quick facts:

* Fifty-five percent of women, age 15 to 44, are mothers, including 65 percent of the women who live in Mississippi and Arkansas.

* Nationwide, 81 percent of women ages 40 to 44 are mothers, down from 90 percent in 1976.

* The average American woman can expect to have 2.0 children in her lifetime, compared to 2.6 children in Utah and 7.5 in Niger, Africa, which has the highest fertility rate in the world. Italy and Spain, at the other end of the spectrum, have the lowest rate at 1.3 children.

* About 4 million women have babies each year, including 415,000 teens ages 15 to 19, and more than 100,000 moms age 40 or older.

* More than 13.3 percent of Arkansas women who gave birth in the last year were teens, among the highest in the country. In 2004, some 238,000 cohabiting women gave birth in the last year, with 1.2 million nonmarital births overall.

* The average age of women when they give birth for the first time is 25.2, the oldest average ever.

* Some 40 percent of births are the mother's first, 32 percent are the second, 17 percent third and 11 percent fourth or more.

* And, some 35,723 of the births in 2003 did not occur in hospitals.

Whatever wisdom you can glean from this random collection of information, we hope we all realize just how special motherhood is.

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