Raising a child in 2018 is not cheap. Fifty years ago, the cost to raise a child until the age of 18 was a mere $26K, but by 2010, the cost has gone up ten-fold to cover the same basic essentials. Even though the median income in the US has also gone up, raising a child now involves many expenses that parents did not have to worry about before. That is probably why even with both parents working in most families, raising a child can have a significant impact on one’s budget.
This is especially true for single parents. Raising a child is an uphill battle for most. The most expensive element for these parents is the cost of daycare which is prohibitively expensive, even for couples.
So the question is: how expensive is it to raise a child in 2018? Here is a breakdown of the major costs that most parents have to incur today:
- Education: There is no doubt that public schools are free in most developed nations, but with advancing technology, private tutoring and the increasing popularity of homeschooling, education is one of the most important elements of a child’s upbringing cost. Most public schools do not provide computers, and since nothing can be done today with computers and Internet, parents are responsible for providing this basic necessity to their children. Also, there are fees to join sporting organizations, field trips, school uniforms, buying textbooks and taking standardized exams. In 2015, the costs to raise a kid up to age 18 peaked at about $36K.
- Child Care Costs: Family expenses are so high today that most children have two working parents. With both parents working to making ends meet, daycare is the only option when it comes to childcare. The annual average cost of childcare for a middle-income two-parent family in the US with an infant is approximately $3863. Working parents have no choice but to bear this cost. If one parent chooses to quit and stay at home to avoid these costs, they lose their income as well as their career (which can be important for some stay-at-home mothers).
- Healthcare Costs: The cost of healthcare for children has also gone up significantly. Children need many routine vaccinations and other health-related doctor visits. Children also often fall, trip, and tumble; some of these can lead to serious injuries which require medical care. There are consultation costs every time a child is taken to the doctor. If treatment is required, costs add up. While the Affordable Care Act has made available healthcare coverage to all American children, the parent is still responsible for the co-payments and deductibles which can easily cost $4,000 or more a year.
- Transportation Costs: In the past, most children used to walk or bike to school, but today, a large majority of children 16 years and over drive to school. This brings in the added cost of a car, gas, regular maintenance, and car insurance. Depending on the make, model and driving history of the kid, the average costs in the US per year for transportation averages about $35K. And if the young driver has an accident, the parent is responsible for the damages. Insurance premiums are likely to go up in case of an accident which results in an additional increase in annual expenses.
- Housing: Whether you rent or you buy a property, housing is a costly venture. When kids go to college, they need a place to stay and the average costs to rent an apartment in the US is about $15K-20K per year. Plus there are other bills that need to be paid including utilities, internet, garbage pickup, and other miscellaneous fees.
- Food: Kids, in general, are voracious eaters and love to waste food. Teenagers are also very picky about food and prefer to eat fast or junk food, which is generally expensive. An average family in the USA probably an extra $100 per week on foods just for the kids.
- Clothing; One major expense when raising kids is clothing. Kids grow up fast and want to keep up with fashion. The cost of clothing is estimated to be about $2,000 per year for young adults.
- Technology: Kids love to have latest gadgets and devise which could include a latest and advanced laptop, mobile phone, video game console, tablet, etc. Expect to spend at least $3,000 a year on these luxury items.
Over the past three decades, the rising cost of having a kid has led to smaller families with only one child. The above discussion does not suggest that one should not have kids, but if you are interested in knowing the approximate cost of raiding a kid in 2018, this overview pretty much sums it up.