Anyone who has already raised their children and read the article in the weekend paper about the cost of raising a child probably took a deep sigh of relief. They can sit back and say, "Who can afford that?"
The latest report from the United States Agriculture Department, out last week, said middle-income families with a child born last year will spend about $235,000 to raise that child through age 17. Yikes!
That's a sobering statistic for today's parents. If people looked at having children as a matter of dollars and cents it wouldn't make much sense to start or add to a family these days.
Housing is the largest single category, taking up about 30 percent of the total, as it did in 1960, when the USDA began its annual report. Cost for raising a child 52 years ago was estimated at just over $25,000, which doesn't sound so bad until you see the total translated into today's dollars - $191,720.
The report also lends some credence to the "cheaper by the dozen" theory with costs per child decreasing about 22 percent mainly through hand-me-down clothes and shared bedrooms.
But the report can't quantify the value of love or nurturing given to children by parents. Something money can't buy. And that's the real story behind those cold, staggering statistics behind the USDA?report.
A lot of love can go a long way to providing what dollars don't and we think that's what can do more to raise healthy, productive children than many other things.