Kids Cost A Lot!
The government says “a middle-income family with a child born last year will spend about $221,000 raising that child through age 17.” Of course, that’s an average; it varies based on income: “A two-parent family that earns less than $57,000 annually will spend about $160,000 on a child from birth through high school. Those with an income between $57,000 and $99,000 spend about $221,000 and those with higher incomes are expected to spend roughly $367,000 through age 17.”
AllahPundit jokes that this is “Another reason not to have kids.” But, really, $17,000 a year isn’t all that bad; it’s less than I’d have guessed, really. And, as Stuart Buck points out, the calculation puts a lot of costs on the kid that may or may not exist:
If you live in a small apartment, and having children makes you decide to move to an house that costs 3 times as much, then that’s an expense of raising children. But if you already live in a house and having a child merely means using the spare bedroom or putting two kids in a bedroom, then the marginal cost of having a child is much, much lower. Also: if you have one child, and buy new clothes and shoes for every age, that’s a lot of expense. But if you have a second child who can wear the same clothes and shoes as hand-me-downs, the marginal cost drops much lower again.
Quite right. My wife and I had our first child seven months ago and didn’t need to move because we already had three bedrooms; we just converted one into a nursery/kid’s room.
Moreover, the economic cost of raising a kid is, for most middle class families, not the major factor. Most of us can easily afford to feed, house, and educate our kids. The main cost is the trade-off in time, freedom, sleep and so forth that comes with the new responsibility.
Those are things we anticipated and accepted when we decided to have a kid. And well worth the sacrifice. But they’re a much bigger change than the marginal cost of an extra mouth to feed.