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Who Gives the Most and the Least When It Comes to Holiday Tipping?


Who Gives the Most and the Least When It Comes to Holiday Tipping?

Written by: Octavio Blanco

A holiday tip is a good way to let service industry workers know how much they’re appreciated, yet fewer Americans are giving them.

According to the Consumer Reports 2017 national survey on holiday tipping, 50 percent of Americans gave tips during the 2016 holidays, down from around 60 percent who said they gave tips in our survey five years ago.

Among the reasons for not tipping: Being short on cash, not having a familiar relationship with the service provider, and not being satisfied with the service received. 

Gen Xers More Generous Than Boomers

While fewer people are tipping overall, there were stark contrasts in tipping among the generations. Those 70 and older—the so-called silent generation, or silents—were the most likely to give holiday tips, with 62 percent giving a median of $25.

Gen Xers, the so-called slacker generation of Americans between ages 36 and 52, were the most generous generation. They gave a median of $50 in total tips, compared with $40 for baby boomers and $30 for millennials.

“Members of Generation X are likely comfortable when it comes to their income and lifestyle,” says Leslie Yazel, editor in chief of the magazine Real Simple. She says the reason is that “they may vividly remember having a restaurant job in college or delivering newspapers in high school, and they are now in the best position financially and emotionally to dole out a nicer size tip.”

Gen Xers, notably, weren’t slackers when it came to the number of tips they gave. Just after the silents, Gen Xers were the runners-up, with 53 percent saying they gave holiday tips. That compares with just 50 percent of boomers who said they give holiday tips and 44 percent of millennials, the youngest and probably the least wealthy generation.


Northeasterners Tip the Most

Geographic location made a difference, too. More than 60 percent of people residing in the Northeast, according to our survey, said they tipped at least one service provider during the holidays. That compares with 50 percent of those from the West, 48 percent of Southerners, and 45 percent of Midwesterners.

Not only do Northeasterners tip more often than others, but they also give bigger tips, according to our survey results. Last year, Northeasterners tipped a median of $50 in total compared with $40 for Midwesterners and Southerners and $30 for those living in the West.

“The results seem to track earning power by region,” says Daniel Senning, spokesman for the Emily Post Institute and co-host of organization’s “Awesome Etiquette” podcast.

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