By David Seeger, WNWO Today Money Monday expert
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released some unsettling statistics. The total cost to raise a child from birth to the age of 17 is now at $234,900, excluding any costs of college.
This number represents a 25 percent increase in the cost to raise a child over the last decade. The cost to raise a child is running slightly faster than the average rate of inflation. Based upon these numbers and utilizing a fairly modest expected rate of inflation, it will cost you $4,698 more to raise the child over its life every year you wait to have him/her.
So, if a couple decided to wait two or three years before having another child, it will cost them anywhere from $9,396 to $14,094 more just to raise the child from a financial perspective.
There are some economies of scale when it comes to have multiple children, i.e. breaks for day care and private school tuition, should they go that route. Also, there is a tax credit of $1,000 per child under the age of 16 that helps mitigate some of the costs. But when you take into consideration that it costs on average $13,817 per year to raise a child, those breaks do no go that far.
So, where does the money go? Here are some of the highlights in terms of large, gross numbers:
1. In current dollars, it costs an average total of $42,282 for the cost to educate, provide daycare, and after school programs, etc., the child from nursery school through high schoolâ?¦and that assumes the child attends public school.
2. You will spend $18,792 just on regular healthcare visitsâ?¦not including sick visits and if the child has a major medical emergency or chronic type illness.
3. Just bring the child into the world, the average costs, including all the prenatal costs will be around $9617.
4. And to feed the child, it will cost around $37,584.
5. To house the child, we are talking $12,732.
6. To transport the child to school, social events, his/her own car when they are able to drive, will be around $32,866â?¦.not including fuel which at the present cost will add an additional $19,000, give or take depending upon the cost of gasoline.
7. The cost to clothe the child is about $14,094.
The financial stages of life are broken down in the following categories:
1. Infancy (0-12 months) â?? Diaper stageâ?¦use 2700 diapers per year at the average costs of $0.20 per unit.
2. Toddler stage (12-36 months) â?? day care stageâ?¦costs can average $8400 per annum, not including the child swim lessons and other socialization type activities which add to expense.
3. Preschool (3-5 years) â?? beginning education stage -The average cost of preschool is $15,000 for that time period.
4. Elementary school stage (5-10 years) â?? for the extracurricular activities for sports, socialization, etc., parents can spend $1000 per child per year. And this does not include private school.
5. Middle school (10-13 years) â?? spend even more on sports and extracurricular activities as now these now become more sophisticated in nature for sports equipment and uniforms, etc. $1500 per child per year.
6. High School (13-17) â?? this is where things get really expensive with sports, extra circular type activities, driving lessons, insurance, automobile costs, prom, homecoming, spending money, allowances, etc.
All these numbers are averages and estimates. There is a website where one can go to personalize their own cost of raising a child to see their total cost projection. The website is at www.babycenter.com/cost-of-raising-child-calculator.