Check out the map above. It’s based on data from Square — more on that in a second — summarized here and here. The data looks at tipping across America, and on the second link, you can see every state ranked; Alaska tips the most and Delaware tips the least. In general, the range is 14-17 percent. Apparently, consumer behavior professors in America believe that at one time, the country was trending down to 15 percent as the average, but now we seem to be trending back up towards 20. Tipping is, no doubt, one of the most confusing and oft-discussed small talk items in the United States. Bleh.
Here’s an important caveat to the data here, though: tipping electronically is a whole different animal than tipping in other mediums. Technology has been blamed for creating “guilt tipping,” which Square is no doubt a major factor in. This coffee shop near me uses Square, and while I’ll generally tip $1 because it’s coffee and the total price is around $4, the sleek interface and presentation of the whole thing sometimes does goad me into going a bit higher. I bought some stuff at a crafts fair in Austin, TX this summer and the old lady selling it had Square, and the whole thing made me want to tip over 20 percent. I can’t even explain it completely.
Here’s the infographic by city. Denver is tops:
Globally speaking, Germans and Americans are apparently the best tippers; people from Arkansas apparently tip 10 percent on average too (boo hiss). There are no doubt broad cultural norms at play here, and I feel that your parents / who primarily raised you play into it, as does your significant other. I probably tipped somewhere between 14-15 percent until I started dating my wife; now it’s consistently 18-21 percent. Better half, ya know?