Lewis Diuguid

Lewis Diuguid: Valentine’s Day approaches for those worried about what gift to give on Sunday

It’s hard to go wrong giving flowers and/or chocolates to your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day this Sunday.
It’s hard to go wrong giving flowers and/or chocolates to your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day this Sunday. Special to The Star

Worries people might have over the presidential elections, the unintended negative effects of gasoline predicted to fall below a buck a gallon this year and the flip-flops of the economy pale compared to the panic couples feel about now over what to do for Valentine’s Day.

Traditional options include chocolates. But should they be assorted, milk or dark? Who wants the wrong gift thrown in their face?

Then there are flowers. But should they be roses, and if so should they be red, pink, white or some mix? Or scrap the roses and go with something different altogether such as daisies. Again, the wrong kind or color could spell trouble.

While people are fretting over Valentine’s Day gifts, the Census Bureau offers some details about the Sunday hearts-and-flowers occasion to take folks’ minds off of their gift-giving worries. Pawing through the facts may just provide the right diversion for people to pick the best possible Valentine’s Day gift ever!

The original Valentine may literally have dripped with blood because of its ties to a clergyman being executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. Valentine’s Day, however, was first declared on Feb. 14 by Pope Gelasius in 496 A.D.

Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, helped commercialize the occasion, getting credit for selling the first mass-produced Valentine cards in the 1840s.

Going back to the traditional candy gift, in 2013 there are 1,185 U.S. manufacturers of chocolate and cocoa products. They employed 38,717 people. California led the U.S. with 129 of the candy-makers followed by Pennsylvania with 114.

The estimated value of chocolate and cocoa product shipments for places that made these products was $14.9 billion in 2014.

Chocolate isn’t the only Valentine’s Day sweets that people give and eat. In the U.S. people could pick from 448 other companies that were in business in 2013 manufacturing nonchocolate confectionery products. They were job creators, too, employing 19,308 people. California also was the state where most of these companies called home with 45 establishments.

Nonchocolate confectionery product manufacturing had an estimated $9.3 billion in value in shipments in 2014.

The U.S. in 2013 had 3,368 confectionery and nut stores.

In 2013 there were a lot more flower places — 14,161 florist establishments nationwide. They employed 62,222 people.

Imports of cut flowers and buds for bouquets in 2014 through October had a value of $272.2 million. For fresh cut roses, the total value as of October 2014 was $372 million.

Jewelry also is a hit for Valentine’s Day. The U.S. in 2013 had 23,096 jewelry stores. In February 2013, these stores sold an estimated $2.5 billion in merchandise. The U.S. also has 2,134 jewelry and silverware manufacturing establishments.

Some people use Valentine’s Day to propose. The median age in 2014 for a first marriage for men was 29.5, and for women it was 27.6. The percentage of people age 15 and up who reported being married (excluding those separated) was 47.7 percent. Nevada ranked No. 1 in the U.S. as the place people tied the knot the most with a provisional rate of marriages of 35.1 per 1,000 people. Hawaii ranked second with a marriage rate of 17.5.

About 2.1 million marriages took place in the U.S. in 2012, which is about 5,800 a day. For some people, getting married once isn’t enough. Close to 20 percent of people age 15 and older in the U.S. in 2014 had been married twice and 5 percent have been married three times or more. In comparison, 75.5 percent of people who have ever been married have made only one trip to the altar.

For those people who have a hard time finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, there were 399 dating service establishments in 2012. They include Internet dating services. They are job creators, too, employing 2,348 people.

People looking for a Valentine’s Day postmark stamp can turn to Rose City, Texas; Loveland, Colo.; Romeo, Colo.; Lovejoy, Ga.; Loves Park, Ill.; Lovington, Ill.; Romeoville, Ill.; Rosemont, Ill.; Romeo, Mich.; Rose City, Mich.; Sacred Heart, Minn.; Valentine, Neb.; Lovelock, Nev.; Loving, N.M.; Lovington, N.M.; Rosemont, Md.; Love Valley, N.C.; South Heart, N.D.; Loveland, Ohio; Love County, Okla.; Loveland, Okla.; Lovelady, Texas; Loving County, Texas; Valentine, Texas; and Rose Hill Acres, Texas.

It’s enough to make just about anyone crave a box of chocolates.