February 8, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

How much does it cost to raise a child until his 18th birthday?

The US government calculates how much it costs to raise a child, and with inherent accuracy. According to what was announced that day, 25 years ago, raising a child until the age of 17 cost exactly $149,820.

The study calculated that a middle-income family of two parents and one child would have to pay about $8,300 a year to raise a child from birth to 17. The cost had skyrocketed, the press of the time wrote, as it was only $25,229 in 1960.

How much today? According to this year’s USDA data compiled by the Brookings Institution, the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is currently $310,605, as the cost has risen to $17,000 a year.

Of course, the exact amount depends on how much each person earns and where they live. But while low-income families living farther from major urban centers spend less on raising their child, these costs make up a large share of the total family budget. In addition, families with many children experience significant economies of scale, as it is estimated that the cost of raising only one child is on average 27% higher than the cost of one child in families with two children. Costs per child in families with three children are estimated to be 24% lower.

For a family with two children and a low income (under $25,000 a year), the annual cost per child breaks down like this, according to the Washington Post:

Housing: $2,200.
Housing is the biggest expense for a child, accounting for up to a third of total spending. But it’s hard to calculate the cost. When one has children, they will probably have to move to a bigger house with more bedrooms and a bigger kitchen. But if he moves to the suburbs, the cost may be lower than if he lives in a big city.

Tuition fee: $1400.
Education and childcare usually make up another large part of the family budget. On average, it accounts for about 16% of spending related to children. In fact, young children can be especially expensive, as taking care of them can cost more than going to university.

Food: $900
Regardless of income levels, families tend to spend more on food as their children get older. The associated spending peaks during adolescence, as they eat more at that age. The figures show that families spend about 18% of their budget on baby food.

Transport: $800
Transportation costs—installment car payments, gas, insurance, plane tickets, and public transportation—peak between the ages of 15 and 17, when they have more activities outside of the home. Of course, in the US, where the study was conducted, children can drive from the age of 16, which means that the family budget can be burdened with car payments and gasoline.

Health: $600
Overall, health care accounts for about 9% of spending on children, but families with higher incomes tend to spend much more.

Clothing: $500.
From diapers to Dr. Martens – clothes account for about 6% of spending related to children. In fact, this cost has declined over the last 50 years, unlike the rest, because you can now buy cheaper clothes made in low-cost countries.

Miscellaneous: $300
Pretty much everything else falls into this category: essentials like toothbrushes and a haircut, piano lessons, soccer balls, and video games. On average, these expenses amount to about 7% of the family’s budget for the maintenance of children.

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