Adults ages 18 – 37 are less likely to tip servers than their older counterparts

By Caitlyn Callahan

AAA World Article

Millennials often get the blame for ruining a lot of things—the economy, marriage, the housing market, restaurant chains, and even the napkin and pajama industries. 

According to a new 2018 survey by, young adults ages 18 – 37 are also less likely to tip their servers at restaurants than their older counterparts.

In fact, 10% of Americans ages 18 – 37 say they routinely leave no tip, and 1 in 3 leave less than a 15% tip for their servers. When presented with a variety of tipping options, such as at a coffee shop or after taking an Uber, 1 in 6 millennials say they choose the lowest option, and 1 in 5 give no tip.

The survey results don’t necessarily mean millennials are cheap—about 27% of millennials say they would rather pay higher prices if it means doing away with tipping. However, overall, only 21% would prefer to pay more if it means tipping less, or not at all.

The data also shows that those with more money tend to tip more, and young adults as a whole have lower incomes than those who are older and further in their careers. According to the survey, demographic groups with incomes more than $75,000 per year and those with college degrees are more inclined to do away with tipping.

That being said, tipping is still an important income component for most servers, bartenders, and others in the service industry. Generally, tipping is seen as a way for customers to have more control over their experience, while also motivating employees to provide good service

The Emily Post Institute, which provides etiquette training, says tipping “is one of the most stressful and confusing aspects of etiquette today.” It recommends tipping 15 to 20 percent on the pre-tax total at sit-down restaurants.

Some industries, like cruise lines and high-end restaurants, have done away with tipping and rather include service charges in the customers’ bills. In many countries around the world, tipping isn’t a common or even accepted practice.


  • Women are more generous tippers—the median tip from women is 20%, compared to 16% from men.
  • Nearly 55% of seniors ages 65+ say they tip 20% or more at restaurants. Only 35% of people under age 30 report tipping at that level.
  • Customers in the South and West tend to tip less, and Southern customers are most likely to leave no tip.
  • Married people tip more than those who are single, and those with higher incomes and college degrees also tip more.

This study was conducted for by GfK Custom Research North America. The sample consisted of 1,000 interviews of customers ages 18 and older, conducted in May 2018.