Thanksgiving in the United States is traced to the 1619 celebration in Virginia when settlers gave thanks for their safe arrival and to the Pilgrims’ 1621 harvest feast in Massachusetts. It has been celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November since 1942.
Since then, Thanksgiving evokes the most treasured of traditions: family gatherings bringing loved ones together from near and far, whether in person or online.
About 44 million people in the United States — about one in seven — were born in another country. In fact, most residents have immigration in their family history.
It has become such an American symbol of families that in 1972, President Nixon proclaimed the week of Thanksgiving National Family Week: “Our long-cherished American observances of Mother's Day and Father's Day are fittingly complemented by this new idea of a National Family Week, which this year will coincide with the Thanksgiving holiday — a time when families traditionally reunite…”
We use this occasion to share some of the data the U.S. Census Bureau has long collected about the changing American family.
Let’s look back to see how families and living arrangements have changed or trended.
From the Census Bureau Newsroom, Stats for Stories (SFS) links you to newsworthy and timely stats about current events, observances, holidays and anniversaries. This past year, we released numerous SFS related to families:
Our Statistics in Schools (SIS) program offers activities and resources for teachers and students, including The Modern Family: Changes in Structure and Living Arrangements in the United States and more. There’s even a Pinterest page with SIS best boards like Parents Resources and Sociology.
Derick Moore is senior communications specialist at the Census Bureau.
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