If you knew how much it cost to raise a child … would you?
The latest report from the Agriculture Department says that raising a kid to the age of 18 will cost, on average, more than $241,000. That’s up about $6,100 in one year.
“When adjusted for inflation, the cost of raising a child born in 2012 is 23 percent higher than for a child born in 1960,” explains CBS’s Elaine Quijano. “The fastest rising costs are child care and education, health care and clothing, all up 3.6 percent or more compared to the year before.”
And I’ll bet that doesn’t even include the cost of college.
“The report does not include the cost of college, or take into account the income lost by parents who stay at home,” reports Quijano.
I thought not.
Now this varies by region – it costs higher than the average in the Northeast, lower in the south; and the Agriculture Department points out that once you have the first child, each additional one costs incrementally less. The economy gives you a multi-child discount.
That’s all good to know because knowledge is power.
There is one problem with studies like this.
Ask yourself: which potential parents are these statistics likely to discourage from having more children?
Yes, the ones who actually plan for things like the cost of raising a child. And who define that cost as including things like child care and education. And who actually keep a budget. And while those potential parents are agonizing, “Oh my gosh, can we really afford children?” and letting their biological clocks run down, I can’t help but wonder what those other people who can’t even balance a checkbook are busy doing.