Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Some people believe in Santa Claus, and some people don’t. According to a survey conducted in the U.S. in November 2016, 49 percent of people said they firmly believe in Santa Claus. During the survey, 50 percent of respondents said Santa Claus is not real, while 9 percent of people were unsure about his existence.

If we break it down by age group, 28 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 said they firmly believe in Santa; about 64 percent of respondents in the same age group said that Santa Claus is not real. Thirty-five percent of people between 30 and 44 years old firmly believed in Santa Claus in 2016, while 55 percent of people in this group said they didn’t believe. Around 11 percent of similarly-aged people were not sure about the question.

Over 50 percent of respondents aged 45 to 64 said that they firmly believe in Santa, while only 41 percent of the people in this group said, “Santa Claus isn’t real!” The number of people who believe in Santa Claus was surprisingly impressive among people over 65 years old: 47 percent! Only 46 percent said that Santa isn’t real at all.



According to the information showing the results of a 2011 survey among American adults regarding the age at which they stopped believing that Santa Claus is real, about 18 percent of the respondents stopped believing in Santa when they were eight years old. About 16 percent of the respondents stated that this remarkable moment of disbelief came at 10 years of age. Approximately 12 percent stated they stopped believing in Santa Claus when they were seven years old, while 7 percent of respondents said the stopped believing in Santa when they were teenagers.


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About Pavel Prikhodko

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Pavel has worked for many years as a researcher and developer on a wide range of applications (varying from mechanics and manufacturing to social data, finance and advertising), building predictive systems and trying to find stories that data can tell.

In his free time, he enjoys being with his family.

Other posts by Pavel Prikhodko:

One thought on “Do you believe in Santa Claus?”

  1. I thought this article would be somewhat interesting; however, when something that is often paradoxical is force into inflexible scientific parameters (numbers, percentages, charts, … , wwha??), you tend to get a mess…overlapping data, unexplained contradictions, and worst of all data without purpose. This could be partially alleviated, in a case such as this, if a flowchart were administered.

    In addition, there are two sides to every coin, & an edge. Your coin is: Belief & Santa Claus.
    Side 1) I BELIEVE in Santa Claus.
    Side 2) I DO NOT believe Santa Claus.
    (But, Santa represents the miracles of the giving . He is based on St. Nicholas who was very kind and left secret gifts to those in need in his village. That leaves us the coin falling on “edge” in a magic trick).
    Falling On Edge) Renewed belief in Santa
    Falling From Edge) Stopped or Lost belief in Santa Claus.

    Your analysis showed that more older people believed in Santa Claus than younger. This could suggest that there is at some point a renewed belief in the magic of a giving heart. Yet, data was not even gathered for this category (Falling On Edge). I wonder why not.

    Younger people tend to be much more concrete (black & white, no shades of grey) in their thinking. Santa Claus & the magic of the giving heart is definitely a “shade of grey” concept that many just don’t ever come close to understanding. It is very sad. More should try, just try… ‘You can give without loving; but, you cannot love without giving.’ – Robert Louis Stevenson

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