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Guess Which Generation Tips the Most?

This age group is the most generous for service

Boomer Tippers

Jeramey Lende/Alamy

A new survey finds tips vary based on age

If you're a restaurant server and you see a group of boomers seated at your table, get on your game: You're probably in for a pretty good tip.

A new survey by website found that the median tip for boomer diners was 20 percent of the bill. That's the highest median tip percentage of any age group surveyed. It's more than for millennials, whose median tip is 16 percent, and more than for Generation Xers, whose median tip is 18 percent.

Michael Lynn, a Cornell University professor who studies gratuity trends, told the website that it makes sense for boomers to be the best tippers, as people in that group generally are at the peak of their earning potential. The correlation between earning power and tipping practices extends, but in the opposite direction, to the oldest age group surveyed: Those over age 72, who are in the so-called Silent Generation, were the lowest tippers surveyed, with a median tip percentage of just 15 percent.

The telephone poll was conducted June 22-25 and surveyed 1,002 adults. Overall, 80 percent of those surveyed say they always leave a tip after dining at a restaurant, with the median overall tip at 18 percent.

Boomers are also the most generous tippers to baristas, with 38 percent of them saying they always throw a little something extra at their servers after getting their daily coffee. Only 31 percent of Silent Generation members said they always tip a barista, and only a quarter of all millennials and Gen Xers said they do so. But coffee shop tipping isn't nearly as habitual for consumers as restaurant tipping: Though 29 percent of those surveyed said they always tip the barista, 30 percent of respondents said they never do.

Among the survey's other findings:

  • Men (59 percent) are more likely than women (47 percent) to leave a restaurant tip that exceeds 15 percent of the bill.
  • Those in the Northeast tip their restaurant servers most often, with 62 percent leaving at least a 15 percent gratuity, followed by Midwesterners (57 percent), West Coasters (51 percent) and Southerners (46 percent).
  • Those who pay by credit or debit card tip more often (90 percent) than those paying cash (76 percent).
  • Republicans (59 percent regularly tip more than 15 percent) and Independents (57 percent) are bigger tippers than Democrats (46 percent).
  • 67 percent of all respondents said they always tip their stylist or barber; 12 percent said they never do.
  • 27 percent of survey takers said they always tip the housekeeping staff when staying at a hotel; 31 percent said they never do.