The next time you have a talk with your child about teen pregnancy and how hard being a parent is, try showing them some of these numbers.
According to figures from a number of sources, including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Childbirthconnection.org, it’ll cost a total of $234,900 to raise a child from birth to age 17. And that was as of two years ago, so the costs will be significantly higher this year.
Here are some of the breakdowns:
To educate and have your child cared for, it’ll cost you a total of $42,282 from nursery school to high school, which equates to 18% of the total child-rearing costs.
And to keep your child healthy from birth to age 17, it’ll run you $18,792 and that’s just for regular healthcare visits, not medical emergencies or unforeseen hospital stays.
But before your child has the chance to get hurt and dragged off to the emergency room, you’ll be paying through the nose before he or she even takes their first breath, as it costs at least $9,617 for the delivery and everything leading up to it.
Once your child is delivered, one would assume that you’ll have to provide food and nourishment for them, right? And once you do, the overall costs will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $37,584, and that’s for all meals.
Housing and transportation
Don't forget housing. In 1960 the average mortgage payment was $527 per month and $6,323 per year. In 2011, it was $1,061 monthly and $12,732 each year, and once you throw in maintenance, taxes and other costs for a home, that amount will be pushed way up.
Then there are transportation costs, which will make up about 14% of the amount it takes to raise a child, leaving parents to pay a sum of $32,886 for the vehicle, and giving your child money for public transportation.
The gasoline that will be used on each child will cost somewhere in the area of $19,000, and that amount can obviously go up or down, depending on gas prices.
And what about childcare?
Most people know how ridiculously expensive it can be, which is why many new parents reach out to grandma or a close family member who will watch their child either for free or for a very low amount.
In a report released by Child Care Aware of America, the average yearly cost of a daycare center is $15,000 in the state of Massachusetts and $5,000 in Mississippi, just to give an idea. And to take care of children around 4-years of age, it’ll cost you anywhere from $3,900 to $11,700 yearly.
In addition, the report said that today’s daycare costs equal today’s college tuition prices. In fact, when researchers compared the current prices for daycare centers, the prices were higher than tuition amounts for public colleges in 19 U.S. states.
Deeann Puffert, CEO of Child Care Resources of Seattle, says the worst thing about daycare costs is the timing, because most young families with small children haven’t even begun to make their highest salaries yet.
“It’s sticker shock," Puffert said, in an interview with the Seattle Times.
“Young families, who are nowhere near the peak of their earning power, are being asked to shoulder the cost of child care, which is the equivalent of going to the UW (University of Washington) for a year.”
Even babysitters aren't cheap
Even the cost of hiring a babysitter has gone up in recent years, so if you’re looking to get your neighbor’s teenage daughter to watch your child, offering them anything less than $10 an hour would be insulting, experts say.
And we can’t forget about miscellaneous costs, which are probably the expenses you’re least able to plan for. We’re talking about money needed for anything under the sun, whether it’s for school-related activities, entertainment, socializing, allowance, or whatever your child feels they need to be happy for the moment.
Unfortunately, for most parents, this kind of pleading for extra things will probably stretch far beyond the child’s seventeenth year.
As far as clothing your child, it’ll run you about 6% of the overall costs, with the average amount from birth to age 17 being $14,094. Not to mention all of the expensive sneakers and accessories kids need to have in order to blend in with their peers and to not be considered a have-not.
Because in kid circles, being a have-not can get you placed in social solitary confinement, and kids won’t be released until you’re able to purchase the latest and trendiest fashion items for them. It’s very sad but it's very true.
There’s no doubt that parents really have their financial work cut out for them, so it would be wise to make a conscious decision about having a child, and make as many financial arrangements beforehand that you’re able to.
This approach won’t really save you money when raising your child, since children cost what they cost, but at least you’ll be better prepared.