When Do Americans Stop Believing in Santa
by State

By David Cusick

If you celebrate Christmas, it’s likely that you believed in Santa Claus at some point in your life. As a child, it’s part of the joy of Christmas as children send off their Christmas wish lists to the North Pole, bake cookies for Santa and his reindeer, and try to listen for him on Christmas Eve. 

Unfortunately, however, it eventually all comes to an end as children realize that Santa isn’t real and he isn’t the one putting the presents under the tree. We all stop believing in Santa Claus at different ages while others never believed at all. At House Method, we usually write about more practical things like the cheapest home warranty or the best home warranty companies, but because we’re in the holiday spirit, we did some research on what age Americans stopped believing in the big man in the big red suit, Santa. 

We surveyed over 4,500 Americans and asked them if they ever believed in Santa and if so, at what age did they stop believing. Keep reading to see what we learned: 

We went ahead and broke down the average age Americans stopped believing in Santa by state. Overall, the average age in the United States for no longer believing in Santa Claus is 8.4 years old. 

Mississippi has the oldest average age at 10.2 years old. Not far behind is Iowa where the average age is 9.9 years old. Rounding out the top five oldest are Montana (9.8), Hawaii (9.5), and Delaware and Washington, D.C. are tied at 9.4 years old.

At the other end are states like Oregon and Arkansas where kids stopped believing a little earlier in life. People of Oregon stopped believing at 7.4 years old, the youngest in the nation, and in Arkansas at 7.6 years old. Nevada (7.7), Oklahoma and Wisconsin (7.8 each), and Alabama and South Dakota (7.9 each) round out the top five.

If 10 seems too old to stop believing in Santa and seven seems too young, just remember there are people who never believed in Santa at all.

Read more: The Most Popular Christmas Movie in Each State

New Mexico and Vermont have a lot of non-believers. Both states had 10% of respondents say that they never believed in Santa at all. But on the flip side, Maine, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming have enough Santa spirit to spread across the entire country with 0% of respondents in those states say they never believed in Santa. That means everyone who took the survey in those states believed in Santa at one point or another. 

Read more: American Home Shield review

Below is a table with the information from both of the map graphics.

When Do Americans Stop Believing in Santa by State

StateAverage Age% Who Never Believed
District of Columbia9.42.6%
Georgia 8.45.8%
Idaho 8.73.3%
Indiana 8.49.5%
Iowa 9.99.8%
Kansas 8.52.8%
Kentucky 8.33.2%
Louisiana 8.63.8%
Maine 8.10%
Maryland 8.48.3%
Massachusetts 8.32.9%
Michigan 8.32.6%
Minnesota 96.0%
Mississippi 10.28.3%
Missouri 8.33.9%
Montana 9.86.7%
Nebraska 8.63.6%
Nevada 7.75.9%
New Hampshire 9.12.9%
New Jersey 8.15.1%
New Mexico 8.710.0%
New York 8.33.3%
North Carolina 8.63.8%
North Dakota 8.63.4%
Ohio 8.22.2%
Oklahoma 7.84.9%
Oregon 7.44.1%
Pennsylvania 8.31.6%
Rhode Island 8.83.7%
South Carolina 8.85.0%
South Dakota 7.97.7%
Tennessee 8.20%
Texas 8.84.6%
Utah 80%
Vermont 810.0%
Virginia 8.50.7%
Washington 8.14.5%
West Virginia 8.50%


We surveyed 4,580 Americans in mid-November, 2019, asking them when they stopped believing in Santa Claus. The survey respondents were not limited to specific demographics. We estimate the margin of error at 1%. 

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