Toni Cordell, a City of Turlock employee, understands the expense of raising a child. When her son, now 9, was in preschool and kindergarten Cordell said she basically worked to pay for him to go to school and daycare. Quite the conundrum; one that many parents face in modern society.
Over the next 8 to 9 years Cordell can expect continued cost, some of the largest being food, clothing and education.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released an annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families, that estimated middle-income parents of children born in 2010 can expect to spend nearly $287,000 (adjusted for inflation) to raise a child over the next 17 years.
The more than quarter-million dollar price tag is a two percent jump from 2009.
The Expenditures on Children by Families cost estimate included food, housing , clothing, transportation, child care and did not include the cost of child birth or education past high school.
Housing, child care, health care and education were listed as the largest expenses for raising children.
Adrenna Alkhas, a marketing professional in Turlock and mother of two pre-K children, doesn’t mind the expense of raising her children.
“Yeah, when you add everything up it’s going to cost a lot of money but you can’t really look at it like that. These are your children and you want to give them whatever opportunities you can. It is important to give your kids the chance at education and community involvement so they grow up and become good people; as a parent that is your job,” she said.
Alkhas said she spends about $400 a month on groceries, $200 a month on her children’s sports and activities and $300 for health insurance. By the time her children are 18 Alkhas will have likely spent nearly $185,000 on those three categories alone, and she is fortunate enough to have family provide child care.
All that is a small price to pay said Sharon Silva, a great grandmother and executive director of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce. Silva said children are worth every penny.
“When I had my two kids I was scared to death, but I can’t imagine what life is like without them. They are a good investment and if you invest wisely your kids really can be a part of the future of our community. As I get older, I can’t imagine what life would be like without family,” said Silva.
Despite her love of her family and no regrets, Silva said she would not want to raise children in today’s economic conditions.
“I don’t like it when children come into this world and they aren’t taken care of. But the difficulty is that it is very hard in today’s economy. Medical insurance is crazy and then if you have teenagers and you have to drive them all around for sports — all that money for gas. It must be very difficult,” she said.
According to the USDA, in 1960 a middle-income family could have expected to spend $25,230 dollars to raise a child through 17. That translates to $185,856 with today’s inflation — a considerable drop from the actual number of $287,000.
With a premium on medical insurance, rising private school tuition, higher non-team sport activity costs, and increased costs of food, clothing and gas — the money adds up.
“I think as parents you have to teach kids to not have name brands or material things. A lot of people will have to watch what they are spending,” said Alkhas.
Silva’s granddaughter Kassi Fortado, 21, knows the value of penny pinching. Fortado is the mother of a 2-year old and she works part-time while attending college full-time.
“I plan for $2 a meal per day. I definitely watch my money since I’ve had a kid. It’s not about how much money you have, it’s just what you choose to do with it once you have kids,” she said.
To view the USDA report visit, http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/ExpendituresonChildrenbyFamilies.htm
To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.