The real cost of raising kids

The updated figures might surprise you



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The cost of raising kids has increased by more than $10,000 over the last four years. (Cultura/Liam Norris)

The cost of raising a child has increased by more than $10,000 over the last four years. (Cultura/Liam Norris)

Having kids changes your life in many ways: sleepless nights, runny noses and a lighter wallet. You will eventually catch up on sleep and the runny nose will run its course, but it may take years before you can get your finances back in order.

Kids aren’t cheap and we have the numbers to prove it. When we last prepared our detailed analysis of the cost of raising kids in 2011 we pegged the figure at $12,824 a year or a whopping $243,656 to raise your kid from cradle to young adult at the age of 18. Adjusted for inflation that figure today would be $13,366 pushing the total cost of raising a child past the quarter million mark—a $10,200 increase in four years.

It’s worth noting that this $13,000 a year is averaged out over the first 18 year’s of the child’s life. Many new parents will tell you they spend well over that amount when their kid goes to daycare. Indeed, childcare is the single biggest component of the overall figure. In the table below you’ll see this cost being listed as $4,000 because the charge is averaged out over 18 years. It’s not unusual for parents to pay $12,000 to $15,000 a year for daycare. Even if one parent stays home, that too is hardly free since it will mean the loss of one income.

Here’s how the cost of raising a kid breaks down when adjusted for inflation:

Category Cost
Food  $1,799.94
Increased household costs  $2,834.88
Child care costs  $4,141.84
Clothing  $874.44
Increased transportation costs  $2,152.22
Health care  $255.35
Personal care  $260.56
Recreation/school supplies  $1,046.40
TOTAL COST TO AGE 18 $253,946.97

Inflation adjustment is based on Statistics Canada Consumer Price Index, from August 2011 to January 2015.

7 comments on “The real cost of raising kids

  1. This does not include higher-education costs, correct?


    • Correct!


  2. would be interesting to see further breakdown of the categories as well as some sort of graphical representation that displays costs on an 18 yr timescale (ie costs on the y axis and time on the x-axis)


  3. These articles are always so silly. The price of my joy with my 4 children cannot be measured this way. I get it that they are just giving information to back headlines and to get our attention, but they are so inane as to insult your intelligence.


    • If you think that this article of for people like you, you’re the one being silly. Pieces like this are invaluable for people like myself trying to determine how having kids would impact my financial future. I’m not going to pop out a few babies just because they’ll be “precious bundles of joy”….not if I’ll go bankrupt because of it. Think before posting.


      • Most parents will see the cost/love ratio as balanced. Every dollar spent brings back love that sustains you your whole life.

        Money is only an obstacle until you have kids, then it’s irrelevant, except that you want enough of it for them.


  4. And well worth every single penny!


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