How much does it cost to raise a child?
Every parent knows that raising children brings great rewards – and great expense! Since 1960, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided estimates on the annual amount families spend on children from birth through age 17. The newly released report for 2011 shows a middle income family spends $234,900 per child, an average of more than $13,000 each year. This amount excludes any expense after age 18, such as college tuition.
Compared to expenditures in 1960, the share of total expenses for health care has doubled and the share for food has dropped. The most striking change in child-rearing expenses over time relates to child care and education. This category includes child care tuition and supplies, baby-sitting; and elementary and high school tuition, books, fees and supplies for private or public schools. Child care and education expenses are up from 2% of total spending in 1960 to 18% in 2011. This dramatic growth reflects changes in work patterns for parents and the high cost of child care today.
Unfortunately, many of Arizona’s public policies haven’t caught up to this reality for families. Leaders who strive to strengthen families and empower parents will recognize and act on the need for quality, affordable child care.
If you would like to learn more about the money spent to raise a child in 2011 and in 1960, click here.