In what may be the strongest sign yet of the ongoing economic recovery, a new study finds that the average price per tooth paid by the Tooth Fairy has risen 42 percent in the last two years.
In its annual survey of tooth redemption rates, Visa found that the Tooth Fairy gave kids an average of $3.70 per lost tooth this year. That's up 23 percent from a $3.00 average last year, and up an incredible 42 percent over 2011, when kids got an average of $2.60 per tooth.
The appreciation in tooth values is far outpacing the S&P 500 as the economy continues to recover from the Great Recession. And it's happened despite stagnant consumer spending.
Unfortunately, the survey also reveals some harsh truths about economic inequality in this country. More than a third of kids reportedly got a dollar or less per tooth, but the top 2 percent got a whopping $50 a tooth. On the bright side, more households are benefiting from the Fairy's generosity: 90 percent of households got a visit, up from 84 percent a year ago. But the Fairy seems to have a regional bias, giving $4.10 a tooth to children in the Northeast will stiffing Midwestern children with an average of just $3.30 a tooth.
For parents struggling to determine how much the Tooth Fairy should leave their child, Visa has a free app that lets you input your age, income and other demographic data to see where the average lies for families similar to yours.
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.