The Santa Index 2013: Santa's Duties Worth Almost $138,000

If Santa Claus were paid a salary, he'd be getting a little Christmas present this year -- a small raise.

St. Nick's annual pay rises 2 percent over last year to $137,795, according to our annual Santa Index, which is based on an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data for Santa's many jobs. (See the full chart of jobs and wages at the bottom.) Last year his estimated salary was $134,944. In 2011, we estimated his pay at $132,950.

Considering all that he does -- running the workshop, supervising countless elves, double-checking lists -- an extra few thousand bucks is akin to a lump of coal.

Still, it's more than a lot of people think Santa should get.

Asked how large Santa's paycheck should be, 37 percent of respondents in a new survey said he should not be paid at all -- that his work should be charitable. Bah humbug!

Others in the survey were more generous when asked how much Santa should be paid:
  • 27 percent said $1.8 billion a year, which is approximately $1 for every child under the age of 15 in the world.
  • 15 percent said between $100,000 and $200,000 a year.
  • 12 percent said under $100,000 a year.
  • 10 percent said more than $200,000 a year.

Santa's wages

Knowing how much it would cost to replace someone's income or the unpaid work he or she does for the family is an important step to figure out how much coverage to buy.'s life insurance calculator can help with the estimate.

Santa doesn't need life insurance because he will live forever, but nonetheless we make our annual attempt to estimate his salary. Our Santa Index calculates Santa's annual paycheck using average hourly wages and our own estimate of how much time the jolly old elf spends on each job.