Question of the Day: What is the most common tipping percentage in the U.S.?

How much do most people leave as a tip for the hard-working people who serve their food?


Answer: 18-21.9%





  • What is your tipping policy? Is it consistent or does it depend on certain circumstances? 
  • Have you ever worked at a job where part of your compensation was based on tips? Did it affect how you treated customers? 
  • What do you think are the factors that impact how much people tip? How do you think income, gender or age influence tipping practices?

    Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.


    Behind the numbers (Finder):

    "If you work for tips, I’ve got both good and bad news. About two-fifths (43%) of the adult population tip their wait staff between 18% and 21.9% on average. A further 15% say they leave an average 22% to 26% of the bill as a gratuity, and another roughly 6% say they leave a tip of more than 26%. So, that’s 64% of the population being decent about acknowledging good service — or about 163 million Americans.

    And yet, there’s still 36% of the population out there leaving less than 18%, representing about 91.5 million Americans. If you’re waiting tables, it means you’ve got about a 1 in 3 chance of providing service to someone that’s less than generous with their tipping to the tune of less than 18% of the bill.

    Of those who tip under 18% on average, 17% say they leave between 14% and 17.9%, 10% say they drop 10% to 13.9% and nearly 2% saying they leave less than 10%. Remarkably, a little over 7% of American adults say they don’t tip at all — almost 19 million people."


    On the subject of tips, can you make any as an Uber driver? Try this Uber driver simulation in the NGPF Arcade and find out.


    Want to learn more about the rationale behind our financial decision making? Check out NGPF's Behavioral Economics unit.

    Question of the Day: What is the most common tipping percentage in the U.S.?