How Much Does It Really Cost to Raise a Kid?

Everyone knows that it’s expensive to raise a child. But just how expensive is it? How much money does the average American need from the time of birth to when he or she turns 18? The cost of raising children is staggering and probably far more than most people can imagine. Each child that will cost more than buying three brand new, 2011 Jaguar XFs.

Costs of raising a child

Child’s Expenses in the Tough Years

When you think of the most expensive time in a child’s life, two times are the most prominent: when they’re a baby or when they’re a teenager. However, children are always expensive, not matter what stage of development they are in. Every phase in a child’s life comes with extensive expenses that can make budgeting difficult for most families.

During the time from birth through age two, it costs about $11,700 to raise the younger child, assuming the family earns a middle class income, has two parents, and one other child in the home. The first three years are actually the least expensive three-year period in a child’s life.

Child Costs Now and Then

Have you ever thought that it would be better to raise a child in the “good-ole-days?” When you adjust 1960 dollars for inflation, does it cost more or less to raise kids than it does now? First you have to look at the specific costs. Some of the costs are pretty much the same, while some costs have changed dramatically over the years. The cost of child care and education has changed enormously (especially college!). These are nearly eight times more than they were back then. But, parents these days are paying less for food and clothing. Which year came out on top – 1960 or 2009? You may be surprised by the answer.

Single Parent Costs

It is no surprise that the number of single parents raising children continues to rise. Times have changed, and so have the costs. A two parent household raising a child pays different amounts than a single parent raising a child. One reason is that the overall costs are less with two people in a home. In 2009, there is about an $11,000 difference between the two groups when it came to what they pay to raise a child. When the numbers are all added together, you’ll see that the cost is well over $150,000 from the time they are born to the time that technically become an adult.