A recent Visa Inc. survey discovered that even the Tooth Fairy is not immune from the country's lingering economic challenges, leaving an average of $2.60 per tooth, a 40 cent decrease from last year's $3 per tooth.
Even with a diminished payout, the Tooth Fairy continues to loom large, with 90% of American children under the age of 12 getting a visit from the popular cuspid collector.
When broken down by regions across the country, the survey results show that significant changes have taken place in how much money the Tooth Fairy leaves.
- In the Eastern U.S., the Tooth Fairy now leaves just $2.10, a 38% cut from the $3.40 she left in 2010.
- Southern states also saw a significant decrease in the Tooth Fairy's largess, $2.60 in 2011 versus $3.30 in 2010 – a 21% reduction.
- Midwestern children receive an average of $2.80, a modest 3% decrease from last year's $2.90.
- The West bucked the national trend of a belt-tightening Tooth Fairy, with children pocketing $2.80, up 4% from last year's $2.70.
Additional findings in the survey include:
- 10% of children receive no money from the Tooth Fairy. According to last year's survey, only 6% of children did not receive money from the Tooth Fairy.
- 7% of children receive less than a dollar.
- 29% of children receive exactly $1. Last year's survey showed that 37% of children received exactly $1.
- 18% of children receive between $2 to $4.
- 18% of children receive $5 as compared to 22% last year.
Visa encourages parents to use the Tooth Fairy's visit as an opportunity to have the "money conversation" with their children. Even simple steps like asking kids what they plan to do with the money and encouraging them to save for a long-term goal can help instill valuable money management lessons that can last a life time.
Jason Alderman, national personal finance expert and Senior Director of Visa's global financial education programs, Practical Money Skills for Life (www.practicalmoneyskills.com) and What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), is available for interviews to discuss the survey findings.
*The survey results are based on 1,006 telephone interviews conducted among adults aged 18 or older nationally from July 7 - 12, 2011 in cooperation with GfK Roper OmniTel.
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