- Average expenditures on a child from a middle-income family in 1960 were $198k+ in 2013 inflation-adjusted dollars, rising to $245k+ in 2013.
- The largest child expense in 1960 as well as in 2013 is housing.
- Housing, transportation, health care, child care and education expenses increased between 1960 and 2013.
- Food and clothing expenses decreased as a share of total child expenses between 1960 and 2013.
However, an article in the Daily Signal indicates that the $245k+ figure is somewhat misleading because it’s a statistical average which “includes those who are struggling to stay afloat, and those who are buying $1,250 strollers for their children.”
Even the USDA report acknowledges that, as it accounts for income level, making it clear that child-rearing expenses vary:
- For families earning less than $61.5k+, annual child expenses ranged between $9.13k and $10.4k, depending upon a child's age.
- For families with incomes above $106.5k+, annual expenses ranged from $21.3k+ to $25.7k.
The article also notes that large families shouldn’t expect to spend $245k+ on each child. Why? The efficiencies associated with scale. That is, as a family increases in size, the cost/child for food, housing and transportation decreases. According to the USDA:
- Families with at least 3 children can expect to subtract 22% from the expected expenses for a child's age category.
- A family with 1 child should add 25% to cost estimates.
- A single-parent family should add 29% to cost estimates.
Now, why ever would the USDA want to inflate the cost of raising children?
One guess: The USDA runs various entitlement programs. Deflating the cost of raising children would mean less $$$s in its budget to give away in the form of welfare, school lunch programs, etc.
So what? Who cares? It’s not as if the 48% of taxpaying citizens are going to notice.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the Daily Signal article, click on the following chart:
"This Chart Proves It Doesn't Have to Cost $245,000 to Raise a Child."