Cost of Raising a Child

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
Cost of Raising a Child
39
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 10:37pm
The USDA does an annual report on the Expenditures on Children by Families. The most recent published is from 2001. You can view it at

http://www.usda.gov/cnpp/Crc/crc2001.pdf

Look specifically at page 5, which is the table of results their study found. They have split it up into 3 groups. They are all based on gross income, the three groups being Under $39,100, Between $39,100 through $65,800, and more than $65,800. The charts also split up what is spent based upon the age of the children.

I'm curious as to how correct this is for those here. These studies always amaze me b/c it seems to me they are soooo over the top in their assessments of what is actually spent on a child. For instance, in our case we fall into the more than $65,800 table. They state that for DD(6) the total spent annually averages $13,570 or right at $1130 per month. And for DS(4) the total spent annually averages $13,720 or right at $1143. That is soooo way off for what we spend on our children, and I would say that we spend WAY more on our children than any of our friends and family do on their children.

First, I really wonder about the housing costs. I mean, who wouldn't have a home even if they didn't have children? Of the friends and family I have who do not have children, they all still pretty much own (or are buying) their homes, and I would even say they own nicer homes than if they had children. Much less how MUCH they say housing costs would be. According to the table we fall under, with a 4 yo and a 6yo, it comes to a total of $10,590 or $882.50. Heck, we only spend about $963 a month, including utilities, insurance, taxes, etc.

Just curious as to others thoughts on where they fall in the tables, or just how they feel about the study period.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 2:40am
I think demographics definitely come into play here. You live in a state where the cost of living is quite low, right? And you live in a modular/trailer-which would explain a low monthly housing cost. I live in an area where the cost of living is rather high-and no one here even builds modular homes. There are trailers, but the trailer parks here give real meaning to the term *trailer trash*-we are talking the worst parts of town and drug dealer central (I realize that many other states have wonderful trailer parks, some of the ones in Arizona are really nice).

We are getting ready to move into a new house. Our housing payment, not including utilities, will be more than DOUBLE what you quoted as your estimated payment. Figure in those utilities and such, and its probably close to TRIPLE what you pay. And we are talking what is considered a fairly modest home in these parts-2100 sq feet on a half acre lot.

If we are factoring in things like housing and such, sure I can easily say that I spend $1000 a month on each child. If we didnt have children, we'd still own a home but we wouldnt need a 4 bedroom. We wouldnt have sports and preschool tuition, clothing, food, extra gas for chauffering, etc. Take an average of all those little expenditures, and I can see at least $1000 a month per child.

I think it just depends a lot on where you live. Heck talk to some east coasters or bay area people (or southern cal) where there is nothing in the way of a decent home under half a million. I'm sure $1100 a month per child is a pretty good average if you are taking it across the country.

dj

Dj

"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 7:40am
And this, again, is the problem with averages. People who consider themselves "average" look at the numbers and say, "Hmmm, that's not me. Must be completely fabricated."

In the county where I live, more than 25% of the houses are valued at more than $500,000. So the average is pretty high, although there are plenty of houses worth a lot less than that.

A house less than 1/2 mile from mine sold recently for $750,000. Just a regular 4-bedroom house. I told DH they must have had gold-plated, marble-encrusted everything inside, because it doesn't look that great from the outside. But it definitely pulled the average up. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 7:44am
Our children have effected our housing cost.

We have three DD's after DD3 was born that meant that we needed at least three bedroom houses. Back when we were renting that usually meant an extra $25-$50 a month on rent. When we were house hunting 5 years ago we decided that we wanted a 4 bedroom house, a comparable 3 bedroom would have been $5000-$15,000 cheaper, a comparable 2 bedroom would have been even cheaper.

Since we had 5 people we had 5 people taking showers every day which meant that we used more water then if it were just DH and I, we were also doing laundry for 5 people which also effected our water usuage and our electricity. The refrigerator was opened much more often with 5 people, again effecting our electricity (also 5 people meant that we needed to purchase a bigger frig which meant higher up front cost and again more electricity). During the summer when when the kids were here all day we had to run the dishwasher 2 and sometimes 3 times a day.

I am really noticing the cost of children when it comes to housing and day to day cost because we are in the very early stages of the empty nest. DD1 is away at college during the week and only comes home on weekends and our expences have gone down.

In comparing a famiily with kids housing to a childless couple the difference is what they live in is purely choice where with the family some necesities do come in. We have friends with no kids that live in a much bigger and nicer house then we do but they are living where there are living purely out of choice, if they wanted they could live in one bedroom apartment. We are living where we are some what out of choice but also out of necessity, we could not fit 5 people in a one bedroom apartment comfortably.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 8:02am
Interesting.

Dh and I were JUST discussing this. We were wondering why we were always broke, lol!

People who have only 2 kids seem to have it better off, financially. I don't know if it's true across the board, but the difference between 2 and 3 kids really makes a difference among the people we know.

Not that it matters, obviously, he's not going back. But I think with 3 kids, they just nickel and dime us to death.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 8:08am
Wow... I always knew I lived in a Low COL area, but not until I saw your post did I actually realize how LOW it really is!

For example.. just a half a mile away from me is a small suburb - brand new construction on a large four bedroom, $250k average. You can find a two bedroom *executive* style apartment for less than $1000 per month, regular clean apartment complexes you can still find a one bedroom for less than $400. We have been shopping for land parcels... for the perc'ed and surveryed 9 acres we want, we are looking at $30-$35k. Small lots with lake access can be found for $40k. For a 3 br city home, in a decent neighborhood, $70-$90k.

I don't even know if we have anything in a residential zone sell for over $650. Heck, my dh was looking at a large car lot in a *prime* commercial district with full facilities for $500k!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 8:21am
You don't live in the northeast, do you? Across the highway from where we live, there's a sign at the entrance to a new development. "Single family homes! Starting in the low $500's!" Like there's such a thing as the "low" $500's. LOL! We also have a "mini-mansion" development going in nearby. I don't know what they'll cost, but I'm sure it will be unbelievable.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 8:24am
I have found that going from two to three was more costly in all kinds of areas.

First off the housing that I already mentioned.

Vehicles: We were driving a Ford Tempo when we had two kids. When DD3 was born when we put her car seat in the middle of the back seat we could barely squeeze the other two in beside her so that meant buying a mini van. We now no longer have the mini van but had to go up to the biggest model of car (Intrepid) in order to fit three teenagers in the back seat comfortably.

Vacations: We squeezed them all into one bed as long as we could but eventually they got so big so everytime we stayed at a hotel we had to pay and extra $7-$10 a night to rent a cot. Plus you are also paying for meals and entrance fees for one extra person.

Dinners out: I have a friend that only has one DD and he was shocked when I told him that if we go to a fast food place we can expect to spend at least $25 and at a sit down restaurant at least $60.

Entertainment: Movies, amusement parks etc, one extra person to pay admission for and one extra person to feed.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 8:26am
Okay...you know, I can live with that argument on the housing. I had never looked at it as being a choice versus being a need. Though, I don't think that having 3 children mandates a family NEEDS a 4 bedroom home, I agree with you that they would need something more than a one bedroom that a single couple would require.

Thanks for your perspective.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 8:41am
You are right us getting a 4 bedroom house was a choice not a need.

There are a couple of reasons that we made that choice. When DH was active duty we always lived in three bedroom places when we lived off base (because of cost) and 4 bedroom places when we lived on base. It was much easier and nicer when each kids had their own room. Plus it seemed like when there was sharing to do DD1 always had her own room and DD2 and 3 shared. It just didn't seem far for any one share a room if it was no longer a necessity and we could afford to do otherwise.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-15-2003 - 8:52am
I just read the charts and I am curious as to why it cost more to house an infant then a teenager. Anyone got any ideas?

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