Children Aren't Cheap
Special Report - June 30, 2010
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that it will cost an average of $222,360 to raise a child born in the United States in 2009. The June 2010 report from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion of the USDA also found that “child-rearing expenses vary considerably by household income level,” with wealthier households spending more on children than less wealthy households. The report generally looked at families with two children. Married households with an income less than roughly $57,000, spend an average of $8,330 to $9,450 on each child per year. Married households with incomes between about $57,000 and $98,000, spend an average of $11,650 to $13,530 per child each year. Married households earning an income above $98,000 incur an average expense between $19,380 and $23,180 per child each year. The report found that “annual expenditures on children generally increased with the age of the child,” even though the report did not include college or other expenses for children over age 17.
The report looked at six categories of expenditureshousing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, childcare and education, and miscellaneous items, including personal care and entertainment. Approximately one-third of the total expenses associated with raising children go toward housing. For the middle-income range, childcare accounts for 17 percent of expenditures, and food for 16 percent. While one-third of husband-wife families fall into the lowest income range, a full 85 percent of single-parent homes fall in that category, even including child support payments.
The report also compared the expenses of single-parent homes to married households, finding that single parents in the lowest income group spend approximately $10,000 less on their younger child than do their married counterparts.
Using adjusted figures, the report found that parents of children born in 1960 incurred an estimated $182,857 in child-rearing expenses. Food, transportation, clothing, and miscellaneous items accounted for a larger percentage of total child-rearing expenses in 1960 than in 2009. Today, health care and education consume much larger percentages of the child-rearing budget. Education expenditures have increased by eight-and-a-half times from two percent in 1960 to 17 percent today. The report estimates that parents in the lowest income group will spend $205,960 raising a child, while parents in the highest income group will drop nearly half a million dollars. Middle-income parents are expected to put $286,050 into raising a child born in 2009.
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