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Natural Awakenings

Checkbook Bingo: The Rising Cost of Raising a Child

Jan 31, 2011 02:34PM

Because few parents do the math, not many would guess that it costs more than $222,000 to bring up the average child in today’s middle-income American family. That’s the latest price tag, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures—even before college starts.

Although the lion’s share of parental spending today goes toward housing and food, healthcare costs have doubled to 8 percent of the total since 1960. Education, including childcare and extracurricular activities, is up 2 percent, comprising 17 percent of the total childhood bill.

Some economists say the USDA estimate is modest, because it doesn’t take into account competitive spending practices among the upper classes. These can range from high-speed Internet access, unlimited smartphone texting and cultural travel to competitive sports, private schooling and expenditures on orthodontia and brand-name status symbols. All are vying to give kids a leg up to success.


Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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