Santa should make $139,924 this year

Consider all that you do when determining your ‘family-value’

(Foster City, Calif.) – If Santa were paid a salary, he would make $139,924 this year, according to a wage analysis by, an independent consumer insurance information website.’s annual “Santa Index” uses a list of Santa’s tasks and finds the closest matching occupations and associated average wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This year’s Santa Index shows that St. Nick got a 1.5 percent raise this year, up from $137,795 in 2013.

But the question of how much Santa should be paid is contentious. A survey of 895 adults who said that Santa visits their house shows two main camps: Those who think Santa should be paid nothing and those who think he should get a bulging bag of cash.

How much should Santa make?

  • Nothing – 29 percent
  • Under $100,000 a year – 17 percent
  • $100,000 to $200,000 a year – 16 percent
  • Over $200,000 a year – 9 percent
  • $1.8 billion a year (roughly $1 for every child under age 15 in the world) – 29 percent

“I don’t think many people would argue about the importance of Santa, but the economic ‘value’ of Santa appears to be a hot-button issue,” said Amy Danise, editorial director of

Santa’s highest hourly wages come from running the workshop (industrial engineer) and piloting the sleigh (airline pilot). His lowest-value tasks in terms of average wage provide little compensation but are nonetheless vital to a successful Christmas: wrapping gifts (packers and packagers) and taking care of the reindeer (farm workers).

See the full list of Santa’s tasks and wages.

“Knowing your own ‘economic value’ to your family is the first step in finding an appropriate amount of life insurance,” said Danise. “So we hope the Santa Index is a light-hearted way to remind people to consider all the tasks they do when buying life insurance.”

Santa’s out-of-control spending

Knowing your own ‘economic value’ to your family is the first step in finding an appropriate amount of life insurance

A professional shopper makes about $16.50 an hour, and some people think Santa is shopping far too much. Among people who have Santa visits, almost one-third (32 percent) think Santa spends too much on gifts for their family. One-quarter say that Santa spent more than $500 last year, yet only 6 percent think that spending more than $500 is appropriate.

How much did Santa spend on your family last year?

  • $0-$100 – 11%
  • $101-$200 – 17%
  • $201-$300 – 21%
  • $301-$400 – 15%
  • $401-$500 – 11%
  • Over $500 – 25%

How much SHOULD Santa spend on gifts for your family?

  • $0-$100 – 13%$
  • 101-$200 – 27%
  • $201-$300 – 25%
  • $301-$400 – 17%
  • $401-$500 – 11%
  • Over $500 – 6%

“For those still on the hunt for gifts, we recommend diamond jewelry and puppies,” said Danise. “Those were the top two items named when we asked people to tell us the best gift Santa ever gave them. Other gifts named that deserve consideration were ‘a large jar of pistachios,’ ‘peace and quiet while the kids play’ and ‘a really nice umbrella.’”

“One respondent noted, “Nothing good yet.’ Maybe this is his year,” said Danise.





Consumer opinions are based on an online-panel survey commissioned by of 895 adults who said that Santa visits their houses. The survey was fielded in September 2014. The Santa Index is based on a pre-set list of tasks and hours; tasks are then matched to occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the average wages.

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