It costs a lot of cash to raise those adorable little newborns from the early days in the crib through high school graduation.
According to official data just published on August 18, 2014 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the total price tag for bringing up junior is now $245,000. This is the total price to raise a child born in 2013 to a middle income couple. It represents an increase of $4,260 or 2% from last year’s price tag of $240,740.
Averages are, of course, a little misleading and differences in costs vary widely based on different regions of the country and different social statuses. The urban cities of the American Northeast, for example, are known for their higher cost of living and in these areas, parents can expect to spend $455,000 to raise a kid from birth through high school. On the other end of the range, a low income family residing in a rural area can expect to spend just $145,500 per child.
What exactly factors into the cost of raising a child? The U.S. Department of Agriculture includes all relevant expenses such as food, clothing, housing, health care, transportation, child care, education, and general costs such as communication. The figures quoted above do not include the cost of college. They only cover the parental obligations, from birth through the legal age of adulthood, which is 18.
The USDA has been tracking the annual cost of raising a child for many years and one positive trend in the past five years is that the percentage increases each year have slowed. This is, of course, due to the Great Recession and the reduced rate of inflation. But certain specific costs are rising faster than inflation and include, not surprisingly, health care and child care.
Does the cost of raising a child factor into the decision to have kids in the first place? Apparently not, and a major reason is that most people are unaware of the total cost and even those who know do not consider it important. The joys children bring and the experience of parenthood are worth the price, in the eyes of most Americans.
With the total price of raising a kid approaching a quarter million dollars, it does place a new perspective on child rearing. But as any money saving parent knows, averages are not difficult to beat. Don’t let the U.S. government data get you down- with some smart cost cutting here and some wise buying decisions there, a parent can raise a healthy, happy child for less.
Copyright 2014, Bryan Carey