Are We There Yet?

The Financial Cost of Having a Child

It costs more to rear a child than to buy a house in Spokane.

 According to the latest “Expenditures on Children” report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average expenditures on a child in a middle-income, husband-wife family is about $222,360 – that’s $57,000 more than Spokane’s median home price in 2009. This average also doesn’t include college tuition and other expenses for children older than 17.

The “Expenditures on Children” report, which was released this month, shows that the expense of rearing a child has increased about 22 percent (in 2009 dollars) since 1960, when the USDA first started providing estimates of child-rearing expenditures.

 Housing and food continue to be among the largest expenses, but health care expenditures doubled as a percentage in the last 29 years. The biggest change, is the cost of child care and education. In 1960, child care accounted for only 2 percent of total child-rearing expenditures but rose to 17 percent in 2009.

The amount families spent on their children also depended on their household income and the child’s age.

Families with a before-tax income of less than $56,670 spent about $8,330 to $9,450 each year on a child while those whose incomes were more than $98,000 spent as much as $19,360 to $23,180. Child-rearing expense patterns of single-parent households with a before-tax income less than $56,670 were 7 percent lower than those of husband-wife households in the same income group.

 “On average, households in the lowest income group spent 25 percent of their before-tax income on a child; those in the middle-income group, 16 percent; and those in the highest group, 12 percent,” according to the report.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to parents of teens, but the annual expenditures on children generally increased as the child got older. The annual expenses also were highest for families in the urban Northeast followed by families in the urban West and urban Midwest. Families in rural areas and the urban South had the lowest expenses.

The joy children bring to our lives, of course, is priceless, but it’s always interesting to check out these figures.

How much do you spend on your children each year? 




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This blog is intended to provide a forum for parents to share knowledge and resources. It's a place for parents young and old to combine their experiences raising families into a collective whole to help others.





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