That’s a nice nest egg you’ve got there. Be a shame if anything… happened to it. And by “anything,” we mean “raising your child to adulthood.”
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report that estimated that for a middle-income family with two children, the average cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610, or almost $14,000 a year. That number, based on data from 2015, is a 3 percent increase from 2014, and is expected to increase again for babies born in 2016.
If you’re like most parents, you’re thinking, “Well, retiring sure would have been nice. Guess I’ll be dying at my desk, now.” You might also be wondering, “Where the hell is all that money going?”
According to the USDA, parents spend 26 to 33 percent of that money on housing, a number that of course varies greatly depending on where you live. The total amount spent per year also differed greatly, with parents in the urban Northeast spending the most ($257,770) and those in the rural Midwest spending the least ($193,020).
After housing, parents spend the most on child care, education and food for their children. One statistic about the cost of child care was particularly interesting. In 1960, the cost of child care was only 2 percent of a family’s child-rearing expenses, a number that has gone up to 16 percent, most likely due to the fact that most mothers don’t stay home full time to raise children anymore.
The report also found that older children cost more than younger children by a difference of $13,900 to $12,680 a year. (If you think this is mostly due to the cost of feeding those growing monsters, you’re right.) Another surprise was that families with more children spent less per child (24 percent) than those with fewer children (27 percent) due to factors like shared bedrooms, hand-me-downs and the magical world of Costco.
Keep adding to that savings account, folks — you’re going to need it.