Last week, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee statement indicated inflation was below target levels. The report stated, “On a 12-month basis, overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have declined and are running below 2 percent.”
A less respected economic indicator is telling a similar story about inflation. The Tooth Fairy Index confirms the value of a baby tooth isn’t what it used to be. For the second consecutive year, the average monetary gift left behind by the Tooth Fairy was less generous. In 2018, it fell 43 cents to $3.70, on average.
There are regional differences. West Coast Tooth Fairies are, typically, more generous than Midwest tooth fairies. The regional numbers for 2018 looked like this:
• $4.19 was the average payout on the West Coast. That’s down 66 cents from $4.85 in 2017.
• $3.91 was the average payout in the South. That’s down 21 cents from $4.12 in 2017.
• $3.75 was the average payout in the Northeast. That’s down 60 cents from $4.35 in 2017.
• $2.97 was the average payout in the Midwest. That’s down 47 cents from $3.44 in 2017.
The first baby tooth lost continues to command a higher value than other teeth. It was worth $4.96, on average, across the country.
The non-monetary benefits of impending Tooth Fairy visits can be significant. They may include: 1) early bedtime in anticipation of the visit; 2) joy when compensated for a lost tooth; 3) a chance to discuss the importance of oral hygiene; and 4) the opportunity to teach kids about saving.