The Original Tooth Fairy Poll has typically served as a good indicator of the economy’s overall direction, tracking with the movement of Standard & Poor’s 500 index for 12 of the past 14 years. The December 2017 poll shows the Tooth Fairy hasn’t quite been able to keep up with the market’s hot pace—with an 11% cash payout decrease from 2016, while the S&P 500 saw a total return in 2017 of almost 18%.
Even though the average price of a tooth dropped, the Tooth Fairy still paid out a healthy $271 million for lost teeth across the nation. Those looking under their pillow for their first lost-tooth payout took far less of a hit, receiving an average $5.70 per tooth, only a minor drop from 2016 which saw a $5.72 payout.
The Tooth Fairy visits 84% of the nation’s households with children. Fifty-five percent of parents confess that the Tooth Fairy may have missed a visit at some time. While the Tooth Fairy leaves money at 95% of the homes it visits, some parents say the Tooth Fairy also leaves a small toy or game (47%), a letter from the Tooth Fairy (35%) or a tooth brush (31%) in addition to or instead of money.
Tooth Fairy payouts are highest in the West with $4.85 ($6.76 for the first tooth), followed by the Northeast at $4.35 ($6.45). In the South the Tooth Fairy gave an average of $4.12 ($5.68), while in the Midwest the average was $3.44 ($4.37).
The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted between December 13 and December 28, 2017, among a nationally representative sample of 1,007 parents of children ages 6 to 12.