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MARKETANALYST.US / ECONOMY & WORK

Cost of Childcare in the U.S. Is Rising at an Alarming Rate; What Does It Imply?

About 75% of parents think that having and raising children has been far more expensive than they expected, per a survey.
PUBLISHED APR 30, 2024
Cover Image Source: Childcare costs in the U.S. are growing at an alarming rate (representative image) | Unsplash | Photo by BBC Creative
Cover Image Source: Childcare costs in the U.S. are growing at an alarming rate (representative image) | Unsplash | Photo by BBC Creative

Welcoming a child into the family is one of the greatest and most joyous events for a couple. However, this may not be the case for couples who like to meticulously plan their costs. This is because a 2023 study by LendingTree found that the nationwide average cost of raising a child is $21,681 per year. This excludes college fees (one of the largest costs) and takes into account only costs like rent, food, clothing, childcare, transportation, health insurance, and state tax exemptions or credits.

Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Vitolda Klein
Raising children in the US (Representative Image) | Unsplash | Photo by Vitolda Klein

LendingTree estimates that the total cost of raising a child over 18 years is $237,482. This accounts only for the necessities, and it doesn’t include the cost of luxuries, nice-to-haves like vacations, or enrichment classes, which usually cost a lot for an average family. While the cost is staggering, LendingTree also estimates that it is growing at an alarming rate. As per the study, there was a 19.3 % jump in the cost of raising a child between 2016 and 2021. The cost of everything associated with a child like the cost of fancy strollers and formula has hiked for the current generation of parents.



Apart from LendingTree, the USDA also tabulates its estimate of the cost of raising a child till the age of 17. While it uses many of the same parameters as LendingTree, it also includes room for miscellaneous expenses, like toothpaste, haircuts, and entertainment, as per a Good Housekeeping report. For 2015, which is the most recent year available, the total estimate for the cost of raising a child was $233,610, which experts believe comes out to be nearly $310,605, taking inflation into account, the report said.

According to a separate LendingTree survey of 2000 consumers, about 75% of parents think that having and raising children has been far more expensive than they expected. Over half of the respondents, 55% admitted to going into debt to pay for child-related expenses. Furthermore, families with young children felt that the biggest financial burdens of childrearing are food, childcare, and clothing and clothing, which are all expected to get even more expensive in the future.

As per a Fox Business report, childcare is expected to get more expensive for Americans as an important pandemic-era relief program has expired. As per the report, Congress allocated $24 billion in emergency funding to help keep childcare providers afloat under the American Rescue Plan in 2021. However, that program officially expired last year, leaving childcare providers in a lurch.



The Century Foundation estimated that 70,000 childcare programs could potentially close because of the funding expiration, resulting in 3.2 million children losing access to care. Furthermore, a study from the Bank of America Institute found that families with childcare payments have been dipping into their savings at a faster rate. The study indicated that the average childcare payment per household jumped over 30% since 2019 for middle- and upper-income families with income between $100,000 and $250,000 witnessing the biggest increase. This may even drive some parents out of the workforce to look after their children.

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