Tab for raising a child: $241,000
Health and day care costs have soared
Kids these days: more expensive than ever.
That’s the word from a new federal study that pins a $241,080 price tag to raising a child born in 2012.
American families may remain mired in financial recovery mode, but they will dole out more money than ever to rear a child to age 18. The figure doesn’t even factor in the soaring price of college — or of supporting offspring as they live at home raiding the refrigerator and playing video games into their 20s.
This middle-class projection is 2.6 percent higher than 2011. Costs for child care, education, health care and clothing are rising, while housing, food, transportation and some miscellaneous expenses fell from one year to the next.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture began this child-cost exercise in 1960, determining that a child born the year voters elected John F. Kennedy would cost $25,229 – or $195,690 in 2012 dollars - to raise to age 18.
The cost of housing as a percentage of child-rearing expenses remained flat during the past 47 years at about 30 percent. Food costs fell by a third and clothing costs fell by half.
On the other side, the cost of health care doubled.
And child care and education grew exponentially – from 2 percent of the total cost of raising a child in 1960 to 18 percent in 2012 - as women entered the workforce en masse and families turned to day care, according to the report.
The report noted that family incomes affected the cost of rearing children.