Children don’t come cheap: Cost of raising one hits AED858,000

Children keep getting more expensive to raise - fashion is pricier and so are doctor visits and day care, according to the US government. At least food’s still relatively cheap. The cost for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2015 to age 18 is $233,610 (around AED 858,037), a 3 per cent increase from the previous year, the Department of Agriculture said Monday. Housing was the largest expense, at 29 per cent of the cost. Wealthier families, who live in costlier neighbourhoods and are more likely to use day care, spend more than twice as much on their children as poorer households. The USDA has prepared the report almost every year since 1960. It tracks seven categories of spending, including housing, transportation and clothing, and is used to help courts and government agencies estimate child-support costs. It excludes payments for college, as well as financial contributions from sources other than parents, including government aid. The cost of child-raising has outpaced inflation because of rising health-care costs and additional money spent on clothing, which tends to fluctuate based on fashion trends. Lower projected energy costs, meanwhile, are giving parents a break on transportation expenses, notably driving. One good piece of news for parents: This year’s increase is below the historic average annual increase of 4.3 per cent. Per-child expenses go down as families grow larger, and teenagers cost more than younger children, largely because they eat more and have greater transportation needs, Lino said. The study defines middle-class as having before-tax income of $59,200 to $107,000. A family earning less than that before taxes will probably spend $174,690 in 2015 dollars raising a child to age 18, while parents earning more than $107,499 may pay $372,210, according to the study. The urban Northeast, where an affluent married couple will spend $397,110 to raise a child, had the highest costs, the USDA said. Child costs are lowest in rural areas, where a two-parent family will spend $146,310. (Alan Bjerga/Bloomberg)

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