USDA: Children Are Literally Cheaper By The Dozen

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The government wants you to know that having more children reduces the amount parents spend per child.

In an annual report on the cost of raising a child, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that parents will spend around $233,610 to raise a child born in 2015. That cost is greatly reduced if the family has more than one child, the USDA said. (RELATED: Gov’t Estimates Parents Will Spend $233,610 Raising A Child Born In 2015)

“There are significant economies of scale, with regards to children, sometimes referred to as the ‘cheaper by the dozen effect,'” Dr. Mark Lino, economist with the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, said in a press release.

Families with one child will spend 27 percent more on their kid than a family with two children will spend per child. A family with three or more children will spend 24 percent less per child, according to the USDA.

This cost saving assumes that the family will hand down things like clothes and bicycles from the older to the younger children, and will take advantage of bulk prices when purchasing food.

“As families increase in size, children may share a bedroom, clothing and toys can be reused, and food can be purchased in larger, more economical packages,” Lino said.

The cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 18 has increased since USDA first started collecting data in 1960. Raising a child in 1960 cost $202,020, after adjusting for inflation, around $30,000 less than it costs today, even though the total cost of feeding, clothing and housing a child has gone down.

What has increased is how much parents spend on education. In 1960, 2 percent of childcare costs went to education. Today, 16 percent of all childcare spending goes to education costs.

The amount parents spend on “miscellaneous” expenses, things like haircuts, sports equipment, electronics, dance lessons and computer games, has also increased since the 60s, the report found.

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