The Tooth Fairy Was Kind of Cheap Last Year

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Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images

The average amount given to sweet, adorable children by the Tooth Fairy last year was a mere $2.10. That’s down 17% from the year before, representing one of the largest declines in spending for the tightwad sprite since 1998. What gives?

We all know the drill: When the tooth of a young boy or girl falls out, it is placed under a pillow at night with the expectation that the Tooth Fairy will silently whisk in their bedroom, take the discarded tooth, and leave behind some cold, hard cash.

(MORE: Is the Tooth Fairy Getting Stingy?)

But last year, the Tooth Fairy started cutting costs. Maybe it was the country’s stagnant wage growth that did it. Or maybe the bank foreclosed on her fairy house located somewhere deep in the forest.

Whatever the reason, however, the average Tooth Fairy gift was down 42 cents last year, from $2.52 in 2010.

“Like many Americans, the Tooth Fairy needed to tighten her belt in 2011, but she’s hopeful for a recovery this year,” said Delta Dental Plans Association Spokesman Chris Pyle, who compiles such stats and also apparently interviewed the parsimonious pixie about the nascent economic recovery.

Delta Dental found that the most common amount left for kids was $1. Most children get more money for their first baby tooth. That’s right, kids – it’s all downhill after that, which is also a great life lesson, children. Delta also reported that 90% of households still get a visit from said Fairy.

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It appears that the price of a tooth is a good gauge of the economy, as Tooth Fairy spending has run parallel with the Dow Jones Industrial Average seven out of the last 10 years.

Honestly, Fairy, knock it off. What the American children need these days is a little stimulus. And if we can’t get it from you, we’ll find it elsewhere. Easter Bunny, I’m looking at you.