Based on recent data from a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, “the cost of raising a child born in 2015 was $233,610.” And since then, the cost has only gone up.

Just the cost of giving birth alone can break the bank if you aren’t properly prepared. According to The Plutus Foundation, patients without insurance pay around $30,000 to $50,000, and patients who have employer-provided health insurance pay an average of $4,500. And these numbers don’t factor in circumstances like fertility treatments, adoptions, or pregnancy and/or delivery complications. Plus, healthcare needs don’t stop after the birth. Babies need a lot of checkups. Expensive shots. Yearly appointments. Physicals for school attendance and sports participation. Broken bones. Bumps on the head. The flu. It all costs money.

Expense Breakdown: How Much Does it Cost to Feed and Care for a Child?

After healthcare has been taken out of the equation, The Plutus Foundation has broken down the cost of a child by category.

Parents can expect to spend as much as $3764 per child per year in additional housing expenses, and feeding one child costs an average of $233 per month.

If both you and your partner work, you’ll have to factor in costs of childcare, as well. According to the USDA, full-time child care costs $37,376 per child per year. And this doesn’t factor in part-time care, like before-school and after-school care for parents who don’t have flexible schedules.

Other Hidden Childcare Costs

Another major cost is transportation. Many parents find that they need to purchase a more reliable car when they choose to have a child, and depending on how many children the parents decide to have, they might need a bigger car as well. Then there is the cost of gas. You’ll be driving the kids to and from school if you need them to attend before-school and after-school care, as the buses usually don’t run in those timeframes. You’ll also be driving every time they forget lunch or need a change of clothing, every time they have sports practice or play rehearsal, and every time they have a game or a recital. At some point, you might even need to buy your child a car of their own, or at least get them added to your insurance in case they crash yours.

Then come the small costs – which inevitably add up to huge ones. Between rough play at recess and growth spurts, sports, and other extracurricular needs – children need a lot of clothing. Their hair needs to be cut. They lose or damage things like toothbrushes, combs, art supplies, toys, and more. Birthday parties are surprisingly costly, even when the food and cake are homemade. School requires a backpack every year, and it’s rare to find a bag that survives more than one. Plus, they also need supplies for that backpack – things like lunchboxes, paper, pencils, water bottles, and eventually tablets and laptops.

College and Other Ongoing Costs of Having Children

It doesn’t end when they turn 18, either.

According to Bankrate, “the average cost of full-time undergraduate tuition ranges from $18,550 to $54,880.” You may not be obligated to pay for your child’s college like you’re obligated to house and feed them, but you will have to carry the guilt that you were unable to give them the same leg up as their peers when they entered the world as adults. 

Even if you give your child the bare minimum, ignoring second cars and cool toys and college tuition, a child is still incredibly expensive. A parent should be a responsible adult. As a responsible adult, you should make certain you can handle these costs – the unavoidable costs needed to properly care for a child – before bringing one into the world. 

Many of the most responsible adults in the world today are deciding to remain ChildFree because they recognize that they likely won’t have the funds, time, and energy to raise children in today’s economic climate. If you want to be ChildFree by Choice, but you’re struggling with the financial aspect of making this selfless decision, CBC is here for you. Start your journey as a Candidate today.

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