Why it costs so much to raise a kid

The typical middle-income family will spend $235,000 raising a child to age 17. Here are some of the ways that cost adds up.

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Apr 26, 2013 11:40PM
I've seen some totally ridiculous numbers in my life but this cost of raising a child number goes beyond ridiculous to completely assinine.  (Misspell is deliberate.)   You put a roof over their head, food on the table and clothes on their back.  Add love and respect and if you've got a little cash left over you consider Little League or a cheap lap-top but only if you have the left over cash.  That doesn't take any 14 grand a year, or more, and if you're lucky you end up with an adult who is responsible, self-reliant and able to love in return.  The rest is superfluous, may be nice if you can afford it but hardly necessary.
Apr 26, 2013 11:02PM
Spoiled kids! What preschool kid needs Spanish  lessons?
Apr 27, 2013 12:34AM
I'm 3rd generation raised with with the motto:  you work for what you want no matter what age you are.  All my children were given a roof over their head, love, respect, and our time.  We lived modestly and mom was able to stay home.  We have raised well adjusted children that all work, and take nothing for granted.  They all have gone on to higher education on their own accord. 
Apr 26, 2013 10:25PM
The freeloaders spend little if anything on a child.  A child is money made for them.  Free education, free books, free lunch, free medical services even when not needed, free crazy checks, free medicaid, free this and free that.  But, the freeloaders children are not free to the taxpayers.  I see no way out unless there could be a total collapse of the nation.  The freeloaders will put the clowns back in office over and over.
Apr 26, 2013 7:33PM

It takes a village to raise a child until the bills are due then you are on your own.

Apr 29, 2013 8:32AM
Yes, raising children is expensive. I have two and they are spaced several years apart on purpose so we didn't have to pay for daycare/preschool at the same time. It's called planning. And don't spend on ridiculous activities like Spanish lessons and swimming for a two-year-old. Take them to a community pool, get them accustomed to water and then get them into lessons when they're 8 years old.

Also, the woman in Wyoming needs to break down what her $8,400 a year for day care pays for. If the child goes full-time (2080 hours a year), that's barely over $4 per hour. Multiplied by, perhaps, 15 children in the class, that's only $60 an hour for the school to pay for its building, staff salaries, utility expenses, snacks and supplies. No one in day care gets into it for the money. We pay $12,000 a year for day care here in the mid-Atlantic and its worth every penny. If we didn't want to pay it, we wouldn't have had kids.

Maybe people need to investigate and consider these expenses before they get pregnant.
Apr 27, 2013 2:23AM
Spanish lessons in day care??  That's just wrong.
Apr 27, 2013 2:49AM
The OB clinic next to Redding's Mercy Medical Center in Northern California told me around half of the births at that hospital were single women. The vast majority of which were long-term Welfare recipients.  Wonder if anyone can guess how much it is costing for US to care for all these parentless single mothers and fatherless kids.
Apr 29, 2013 9:05AM
I think the best thing to do is set limits if a mom has more than one child without a father.  This mother needs to deal with the consequences of her actions, namely, be responsible for all the expenses of her family since she is NOT responsible for her actions.  One child my be due to ignorance and age but more than one is stupidity or taking advantage of all Tax payers.  One needs to set limits it should not be free for ever.  This is the reason our country is the way it is.  Too many entitlements for people who do nothing for the country but suck it dry.  Help should be given only for short period of time not for the rest of their life. Maximum help should be 3 months and I think this is being generous
because people get used to receiving something for nothing. This type of welfare promotes status quo and NO progress. 
Apr 26, 2013 7:51PM
the main reason is the companies that market stuff to kids know exactly how much you will spend on an item and then price the item at that level regardless of how much it costs to make.
it's called greed and you are dumb enough to pay what ever the price.

Apr 27, 2013 1:08AM
I was taught in school that you raise animals but rear children.
Apr 26, 2013 8:40PM

This question can be answered with three quick words:




Apr 29, 2013 10:15AM
One reason it's so expensive is because today's kids are so spoiled. Nothing their little hearts desire is denied, and nothing is required from them to get it--no chores to earn at least part of the cost, in many cases not even respect. I get so sick of seeing whiny children carrying on because they want something and Mom won't get it, at first. But she usually gives in. I often wonder if those kids ever grow up into responsible adults.
Because medical expenses are outrageous, school supply costs are idiotic, because they constantly are growing like weeds.
Apr 29, 2013 8:02AM

What exactly is the point of articles such as this?

Are we supposed to stop procreating because of how much it costs?



Apr 29, 2013 8:44AM
I find the costs inflated a bit here.  While one COULD  spend, say $10k on speech therapy/OT, the public school system offers free classes, including pre-k ages - for free.  I do agree that costs have skyrocketed, and for many middle-income families they do not qualify for any assistance to help curb costs.  Families who are considered 'low income' in our district are allowed free or reduced cost school breakfast and lunch daily, free after-school sports (we are in a 'pay to play' district - $250/sport for kids - way to go, Board of Ed, toward encouraging fat and lazy kids!!), free internet for the home, among other perks.  All for having an income in the desired range.  These costs are several thousand for us a year.  So I continue to be at a loss on this one, as many of these 'low income' families have parents working under the table (i.e. illegally for extra pay) or are also on welfare and mom and/or dad don't work.  Just don't understand how things have gotten so out of control. 
Apr 29, 2013 11:55AM

The majority of the expenses listed in this article are pure lifestyle choice.  Other than the diapers, the food on the table, day care and the medical care, the rest of the expenses are optional or could be slashed drastically.  Sports, Spanish lessons (for a toddler no less!), private schools, etc are all based on what we want for our children rather than what our children need.


I would love to see an article showing the true cost of raising a child without all of the bells and whistles. 


Don't get me wrong, my husband and I have spent money on our children (Catholic schools, youth symphony, piano lessons, club sports) but we could have stopped any one or all of these expenses if we couldn't afford it.  But we also eat dinner at home most evenings and shop at goodwill to help afford some of this.  The article makes it sound like every family spends these outrageous amounts in every category.  The reality is, we all make choices and if we have to say no to a club sport to pay the orthodontist bill, that's what will happen.  


But throwing out a number like $235,000 is irresponsible journalism.  Either you feel like you aren't doing right by your children or you try to keep up with the Jones' even when you can't afford it.    





Apr 29, 2013 11:54AM
Cruddola, I have two kids, one  is a lawyer and the other an engineer.  I am in my sixties and have a mortgage.  I don't regret my circumstances for one minute because I had kids.  No one in my family ever got a dime in public assistance.  My kids are very resilient and I thank my own mother for that.  She was the best shopper I ever knew and we all learned a lot from her, including my kids.  My daughter was clipping coupons in college and tutoring.  My son's dorm furniture came from the side of the road.  They have good jobs now, but when they had to cope, they knew how.  All of us appreciate everything we have, no matter how humble it might be.
Apr 26, 2013 10:35PM

$17.5k a year? Where are they getting these numbers from?




If you want to fix the system, fix daycare.


To quote SNL: "JUST FIX IT!"

Apr 29, 2013 10:24AM

why is everyone complaining about daycare costs? Do the math people!!! Do you want a $10/hr disgruntled, unqualified person watching your babies?


If you said no, then you must compensate for paying a daycare PROFESSIONAL around $45K-$50K. The maximum ratio of babies to adults is 4:1, so 4 parents must account for approximately $961 every week and that doesn't count overhead and operating costs of the daycare facility. So you are left with each parent paying about $200/week (minimum). That's $800/month per child! Yep, that's probably about what you're paying in mortgage every month.


What's the alternative? Stay at home? Ok, you'll save the $800/month but now what's your genius idea of bringing income and health insurance for your children/family? Leave it up to daddy? Ok, dads, better be making at LEAST $60K per year before you even THINK about having children then :)

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