Expressing one’s affection to another is a celebrated custom on Valentine’s Day. Sweethearts and family members present gifts to one another, such as cards, candy, flowers and other symbols of affection. Opinions differ as to who was the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that he was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine’s Day. Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for selling the first mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards in the 1840s. The custom continues today with even young children exchanging Valentine’s Day cards with their fellow classmates.
Following are the latest statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau in recognition of Valentine's Day.
Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced primarily chocolate and cocoa products in 2014, employing 42,043 people. California led the nation with 151 of these establishments, followed by New York with 119.
The estimated value of chocolate and confectionary product shipments for manufacturing establishments in 2015.
The estimated value of nonchocolate confectionery product shipments for manufacturing establishments in 2015.
The number of florist establishments nationwide in 2014. These businesses employed 61,170 people.
The number of jewelry stores in the United States in 2014. Jewelry stores offer engagement, wedding and other rings to couples of all ages. In February 2016, these stores sold an estimated $2.6 billion in merchandise.
The provisional number of marriages that took place in the United States (excluding Georgia) in 2014. That breaks down to about 5,800 a day.
For more economic and demographic statistics, please visit the U.S. Census Bureau's latest issue of Facts for Features: Valentine's Day 2017.