$235,000 to raise a child? Sounds like a deal to me

My oldest daughter just finished her junior year at a small, liberal arts college in upstate New York. And by “small, liberal arts” I mean insanely expensive—close to $60,000/year. Well, that’s the sticker price. With financial aid and scholarships and work-study, the price comes down far that I can cut my work schedule back to around 12 hours/day and I can eat lunch every other day.

That’s why I was so intrigued by a new report from the Agriculture Department’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion that says it will cost the average middle-class family $235,000 to raise a child born in 2011 through age 17. Sounds like a bargain to me. Of course, that number doesn’t include college tuition—or any kind of private-school tuition, which was a huge expense for my two oldest. (Moving to a neighborhood with fantastic public schools is allowing us to give my little one a private-school-quality education for public school prices.)

The report defines “middle class” parents as those with an income between $59,400 and $102,870. My view may be skewed by living the Bay Area, which is one of the most expensive regions in the country. For many families, just the basics: rent or mortgage, taxes, transportation, food, clothing, and insurance well exceeds what “middle class” parents are bringing in.

Honestly, how does anyone truly afford to have kids these days and still have a life?

$235,000 to raise a child? Sounds like a deal to me was last modified: June 19th, 2012 by Armin


  1. Look at it this way. We can live reasonably comfortably, pay for home school, and raise 5 kids in the midwest on $50,000/yr. without any sort of WIC/publicly funded insurance/other assistance. That seems like quite a bit less than $235,000 per child. My calculations would indicate that is less than $70,000 per child for 17 years.

    Of course, those figures only count the cost of having children. It is a complicated picture, but there are other considerations.

    When you have kids your life changes. And that is a wonderful thing.

    Remember, the idea of children being a liability is a pretty new concept in history.

  2. It’s amazing how we can afford it. I don’t even want to know how much we have spent in my daughter’s short life of 8 months so far…

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