Rising inflation costs have made everything more expensive. It’s also significantly increased the price of one main budget buster, raising kids. According to a recent assessment from the Brookings Institution, it now costs $310,605 for a married middle-class couple to raise their youngest child from birth to high school.
This estimate adds to a 2017 report from the US Department of Agriculture. In 2017, the agency projected that it cost a middle-class married couple $233,610 to raise a child until they were 17 years old. This number factored in expenses for shelter, food, and other necessities for a child born in 2015. However, it didn’t factor in the cost of a college education. Brookings noted that inflation has drastically increased these costs; they first shared these numbers with the Wall Street Journal.
Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow in economic studies at Brookings Institution who wrote the study with Brookings’ senior research assistant Morgan Welch, said, “It causes people to recognize that when you start having a family or when you increase the size of your family, you’re going to have to make some tradeoffs with other items in your budget.”
Housing is the family’s most substantial expense, accounting for nearly a third of total child-rearing costs. The average home price in July was up 10.8 percent from last year at $403,800, marking over a decade of monthly gains. Prices also rose nationwide, with 80 percent of US metro areas reporting double-digit increases in the previous quarter.
The USDA found that food is the second most expensive budget item when raising a child, making up 18 percent of the total cost in its initial estimate. Sawhill added that the most recent estimate didn’t adjust the allocation of expenses for different items.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, grocery prices increased 13.1 percent over the last year, the most significant yearly increase since 1979. Nearly every grocery staple is more costly, thanks to inflation. Eggs prices increased by 18 percent, chicken rose to 17.6 percent, and milk increased by 15.6 percent.
According to Sawhill, the estimate has already made a significant estimate of what inflation will look like in the coming days. This number is still centered on expenses for children born in 2015, so Brookings had to guess the inflation rate beyond the child’s present age of seven. The prices of inflation are affecting the pocketbooks of every American citizen.
With the cost of raising a child at over $300,000, it will be interesting to see how this affects the future childbirth rate. Will couples choose to have fewer children due to this cost, or will things remain the same? We should also consider single parents; does it cost them $310,605 to raise a child, or is their number different because they do it alone?
It’s also likely that inflation will be around for a while, so we should prepare to continue shelling out extra money for our everyday items. Let’s hope for our wallet’s sake that things get back to normal soon.