Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Truth about Babies and the Economy

Blaire Brody, writing for the Fiscal Times, gave her readers a heads up when she documented the real costs of raising a child. While the U.S. has been hit hard by the recession and everyone is looking for ways to save, the cost of raising a child has continued to climb.

School tuitions, health care, rent, transportation, daycare, and other expenses associated with raising a family have continued to rise but our salaries have not. Here are the sobering numbers:

In 2009, the Department of Agriculture estimated the total before-college cost of raising a child was $286,050 — about $11,700 per year today, and $21,600 a year by the time they’re 18. With college, the cost nearly doubles, not to mention the costs many parents face during a recession, when their college grad shows up at their doorstep expecting to move back in. Housing and child-care were two of the biggest expenses, 31 percent and 17 percent respectively, and 50 percent higher for those who live in urban areas. The U.S. is becoming more urbanized every year — 90 percent of the population is expected to live in cities or suburbs by 2050. For a newborn in New York City, the average family spends up to $16,250 per year on child-care alone.
After steady declines since 2007, the U.S. birth rate has now fallen below replacement rate, and that trend shows no sign of reversal anytime soon. While my research shows that the financial cost of raising a child is not always the most compelling reason to remain childfree, it is a consideration in the decision-making process, particularly for those who have postponed children and then ultimately decide not to have kids.

What about you? Has the cost of raising children in today’s economy influenced your decision making?

Flickr Photo by Hello Turkey Toe


marie said...


I'm 30 and I have known for a very long time that I don't want children. But in the list of reasons to be childless, I added economy of course ! I prefer to keep my money for personnal projects such as changing my car, buying a house and travelling !

Laura S. Scott said...

As I've discovered during my interviews for the Childless by Choice Project there are usually multiple motives for remaining childless by choice but the economic motive is a compelling one!

roddma said...

I notice the comment section of that article has long been closed. They think us childless by choice or not people are up partying all hours and living the high life. So 5 kids living in cramped apartment with no shoes is more acceptable than living the high life childless? I don't get this country. The only reason I would be for mandatory health care is to make people more responsible about the number of kids they have. If everyone paid the same taxes, people would be inclined to be more responsible.

Alina said...

I came across this article while researching my own inner dilemma.
Is it reasonable to have a child in today's world.
I am 39, have a good career, make decent money and take the occasional trip here and there. Granted, I am also somewhat financially responsible for my mother.

Taking care of a parent is also something to look at.

She works, but it is only part time and cannot find another job in this economy. She has limited retirement resources and social security is not enough, so I am supplementing some of that.

At this point I ask myself (i am currently engaged to a man with 4 children - 13,14,17,and 19 with a grandchild - I am not fiscally responsible for these children, only one is preparing to come live with us) do I want to be a 40 something mother?
When my child is 10 and my mother is 79 and I may have to take complete care of her, will I have:
a - the time for both?
b - the patience for both?
c - the money for both?
d - the energy for both?

And more than likely not.

Not only to mention the possibility (if I do marry my fiance) that his children may try to come back to live in the home as in 5 yrs who knows where the economy will be then....

Yes there are more realities to be aware of when considering to have children today.

I appreciate that this article has been left open for postings.
Thank you!

ElaineByTheBeach said...

Not really. As an "early articulator", childfreedom chose me instead of the other way around. First and foremost on the list of reasons for not wanting children is that I don't have the temperment to be a parent. The cost of raising kids never really factored into my decision. However, the cost just underscores how sound my decision is. I have taken a real beating in this economy; I'm barely able to make ends meet(so much for the stereotype of the SINK with tons of spending money! ;). The thought of having to support another person just makes my blood run cold;it would be impossible in the current economy.