The Inflation of the Tooth Fairy

One of the more exciting experiences as a child is losing your baby teeth. At first, you notice one of your teeth is a bit loose, then there is a wiggle, and then you anxiously await the next bite or movement that will finally set your baby tooth free.

Then the real fun begins.

Because the only thing more exhilarating than losing a tooth is waking up to discover that some money has “mysteriously” appeared under your pillow.  

The tradition of the Tooth Fairy has been around since the early 1900s. Whereas some households might place an item like a toothbrush underneath a child’s pillow after losing a tooth, the most popular ritual is leaving a monetary gift.

How has that monetary gift evolved from generation to generation? Are children today receiving more money from the Tooth Fairy then their parents did at the same age? If so, has that increase coincided with inflation in the United States?

LendEDU surveyed 1,238 Americans to answer these questions and understand how the average Tooth Fairy monetary present has evolved from the baby boomers to generation Z.  


Infographic

How much does the tooth fairy pay 2018

Observations & Analysis

For this particular survey, LendEDU surveyed 400 baby boomers, 438 generation Xers, and 400 millennials. Since respondents had to have received money from the Tooth Fairy as children losing their baby teeth, we were able to uncover the average amount of money received per tooth by generation.

When applicable, we also asked respondents how much money they give per tooth to their children over the last five years, which gave us a statistic for generation Z as well. 

So when it comes to cash gifts, how has the Tooth Fairy’s generosity evolved from the 1950’s to 2018?

As the above table depicts, each passing generation received more money than the previous when they lost teeth as children. Respondents that were part of the baby boomer generation (ages 54 and up) received $0.69 per lost tooth from the tooth fairy compared to generation Xers (39-53), who received $1.39 per tooth.

That age group was succeeded by millennials (24-38), who received an average of $2.13 per tooth from the Tooth Fairy. ​Finally, generation Zers (six and up), who are the most recent generation to be losing teeth, have been getting a generous $3.25 for each lost tooth. 

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We were able to find a statistic for generation Z because we asked each generation of respondents if they had children and if they had acted as the Tooth Fairy within the last five years. The youngest members of generation Z are six, which is also the same age when one begins losing teeth. 

Starting in the early 1950s and ending in 2018, it comes as no surprise that the average monetary gift distributed by the Tooth Fairy per lost tooth has risen with time. Everyone has heard a story or two from their grandparents about when a chocolate bar and a comic book was five cents. 

That being said, LendEDU still wanted to put our survey numbers up against the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator to see how the rising price of a Tooth Fairy gift has coincided with inflation in the U.S. 

As it turns out, older generations, like the baby boomers and generation Xers, were receiving a lot more money than younger generations, like millennials and generation Zers, when the average Tooth Fairy gift is adjusted for inflation.

When inflation is accounted for, the average amount of money received per lost tooth for millennials ​($3.72) was closest to what generation Zers have been receiving ($3.25). The average Tooth Fairy gift for baby boomers of $0.69 would be $5.77 today, while generation Xers’ gift of $1.39 would be $5.54 today. 

Methodology

All data found within this report derives from an online poll commissioned by LendEDU and conducted online by polling company Pollfish. For this survey, LendEDU polled 1,238 respondents currently residing in the United States. Specifically, 400 baby boomers (ages 54 and up), 438 generation Xers (between the ages of 39 and 543), and 400 millennials (between the ages of 24 and 38) were surveyed. These respondents were found via Pollfish’s age filtering feature. Respondents were first asked if they received money as a child when they lost each tooth. To find a statistic for generation Z, we asked all respondents if they have acted as the Tooth Fairy within the last five years.

Respondent answers were averaged together to produce the final statistics. This poll ran over a four day span, starting on Mar. 26, 2018 and ending on Mar. 29, 2018. All respondents were asked to answer each question truthfully and to the best of their ability. 

LendEDU adjusted for inflation by taking the age right in the middle of each generation. For example, generation Xers are between the ages of 39 and 53, so we took the age of 46 to calculate inflation. Since the average human starts losing teeth at age six, we subtracted six from 46 (equals 40) and then subtracted 40 from 2018, which gave us the year 1978. Using the inflation calculator, we then were able to see what a $1.39 during January of 1978 would be worth in February of 2018, the most recent data available for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator. 

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See more of LendEDU’s Research


— Update: 07-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How Much Does the Tooth Fairy Pay per Tooth in Your State? from the website www.dentalcarealliance.net for the keyword how much does the tooth fairy pay 2018.

One of the most memorable things about childhood is earning money from the tooth fairy for every tooth you lose. But not every tooth fairy pays the same rate per tooth. The team at Dental Care Alliance conducted an original survey in which 1,218 parents from around the United States were asked: “How much money do your children get from the tooth fairy when they lose a tooth?” The survey respondents were also asked what state they lived in to determine in which states the tooth fairy pays the most per tooth and the states where she pays the least. The average tooth fairy payment across the United States came out to be $4.57 per tooth, although you may be surprised by how much the tooth fairy pays per tooth in some states. While many children across the country earn a dollar for every tooth they lose, a handful of parents surveyed said that their child gets a whopping $50 per tooth from the tooth fairy! When you were growing up, what was the going rate for the tooth fairy?

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In Which State Does the Tooth Fairy Pay the Most per Tooth?

The state where the tooth fairy pays the most per tooth is Delaware, where children were paid an average of $8.91 per tooth. While most of the surveyed parents from Delaware said that their children get between one and five dollars per tooth, two separate parents said that their child gets an unbelievable $50 per tooth from the tooth fairy!

The 10 States Where the Tooth Fairy Pays the Most per Tooth

  1. Delaware: $8.91
  2. Hawaii: $8.39
  3. Florida: $7.42
  4. Mississippi: $6.17
  5. Rhode Island: $6.12
  6. Texas: $6.00
  7. Wisconsin: $5.89
  8. New York: $5.88
  9. Georgia: $5.81
  10. New Jersey: $5.61

In Which State Does the Tooth Fairy Pay the Least per Tooth?

The state where the tooth fairy pays the least per tooth is Iowa, where children get an average of just $2.30 per tooth. The tooth fairy payments per tooth in Iowa ranged from 50 cents to five dollars.

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The 10 States Where the Tooth Fairy Pays the Least per Tooth

  1. Iowa: $2.30
  2. Wyoming: $2.43
  3. Massachusetts: $2.48
  4. Nebraska: $2.59
  5. Idaho: $2.64
  6. Washington: $2.69
  7. Kansas: $2.72
  8. Illinois $2.75
  9. Maine $2.88
  10. North Dakota $3.02

How Many Teeth Fall Out in Childhood?

Between the ages of 6 months and 33 months, children will usually grow 20 primary teeth, which include the central and lateral incisors, canine teeth, and the first and second molars. All of the primary teeth will shed as the child grows, with most replaced by adult teeth by the age of 12. With an average tooth fairy payment of $8.91, children in Delaware could earn up to $178.20 over the course of losing their baby teeth!

How many permanent teeth take the place of the primary teeth we lose? Thirty-two permanent teeth begin to come in after the baby teeth are lost, and they’re the only set of teeth you get, so make sure to keep up on regular dental care by visiting a dental office near you.

Average Tooth Fairy Payment in Every State

Rank

State

Average Payment per Tooth

1

Delaware

$8.91

2

Hawaii

$8.39

3

Florida

$7.42

4

Mississippi

$6.17

5

Rhode Island

$6.12

6

Texas

$6.00

7

Wisconsin

$5.89

8

New York

$5.88

9

Georgia

$5.81

10

New Jersey

$5.61

11

Alabama

$5.57

12

Michigan

$5.48

13

Pennsylvania

$5.44

14

New Mexico

$5.29

15

Nevada

$5.21

16

Kentucky

$5.15

17

South Carolina

$5.14

18

Oregon

$5.08

19

California

$5.04

20

North Carolina

$5.02

21

Ohio

$4.82

22

Arizona

$4.72

23

Missouri

$4.43

24

West Virginia

$4.40

25

Vermont

$4.39

26

Utah

$4.39

27

Louisiana

$4.36

28

South Dakota

$4.24

29

Minnesota

$4.22

30

Colorado

$4.15

31

Maryland

$4.04

32

Alaska

$3.98

33

Connecticut

$3.95

34

Virginia

$3.88

35

Tennessee

$3.79

36

Indiana

$3.43

37

New Hampshire

$3.43

38

Oklahoma

$3.39

39

Montana

$3.22

40

Arkansas

$3.14

41

North Dakota

$3.02

42

Maine

$2.88

43

Illinois

$2.75

44

Kansas

$2.72

45

Washington

$2.69

46

Idaho

$2.64

47

Nebraska

$2.59

48

Massachusetts

$2.48

49

Wyoming

$2.43

50

Iowa

$2.30

Methodology:

This original survey of 1,218 parents around the United States was conducted by Dental Care Alliance using a Google Forms survey.

Respondents were asked two questions:

  1. In what state do you live?
  2. How much money do your children get from the “Tooth Fairy” when they lose a tooth? (Please enter a dollar amount)

The average for each state is based on the responses of at least 20 people who have identified as parents. Responses claiming to pay more than $50.00, or less than $0.01 per tooth were removed to avoid unfairly skewing a state’s average payment per tooth.

References

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About the Author: Tung Chi