Inflation has surged in the U.S. multiple times over the past couple of years, largely due to the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Along with rising gas prices, Americans, especially parents, are feeling the financial burden of the inflation. A new study found that the cost of raising one child has skyrocketed to $18,271 per year, adding up to over $310,000 to raise a child until the age of 17.
The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization, estimates that a married, middle-income couple with two children would spend $310,605 — an average of $18,271 annually — to raise their younger child born in 2015 through the age of 17. The estimate covers a range of family expenses, including housing, food, clothing, extracurricular activities, and health and child care, to name a few. This doesn’t include some big-ticket items like college or private education costs, which can easily slap on an additional six figures for parents.
The organization shared its findings with The Wall Street Journal, noting that it used previous government data from 2017 as a baseline with adjustments for current inflation trends. This is an increase of more than 9% from the cost to raise a child only two years ago.
The consumer price index has been hovering at a 40-year high for practically everything, including food, gasoline, clothing, and housing.
“A lot of people are going to think twice before they have either a first child or a subsequent child because everything is costing more,” Dr. Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at Brookings, told WSJ. “You also may feel like you have to work more.”
This staggering rise in cost of raising a child could also disproportionately affects lower-income families, single-parent families, and Black families, according to Dr. Sawhill. And while inflation has been dropping since its peak in July, the exorbitant costs of childcare and pregnancy itself have also made having children cost-prohibitive for many.
Back in June, President Joe Biden recognized the impact of inflation on Americans, particularly parents, saying, “too many families are struggling to keep up with their bills,” and that tackling the issue was one of his administration’s top priorities. Last week, he signed the Inflation Reduction Act, a $750 billion health care, tax, and climate bill, into law in an effort to help families struggling under the rising costs of simply keeping their family fed and housed.