- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The cost of raising a child born in 2015 to 18 years old is … drum roll, please … $233,610.

The economic angst, though, may continue, as many already know, since children don’t exactly disappear from the home or parents’ wallets merely because they turn 18. (And parents of millennials know why.)  

In that vein, here are results of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s basic priority categories and some of the costs.

• Housing: nearly $70,000.

• Food: an estimated $40,000. (Keep in mind, of course, that finicky teenagers waver between eating everything in sight, hating whatever is on their plates and having a knack for jonesing for whatever is not in the fridge on pantry.)

• Child care and education: Pretty close to that $40,000 food cost. (And costs of child care and education are going to rise as more and more politicians and activists push the child care and education expenses onto local and state coffers. They call it universal pre-K, remember?)

• Transportation: An estimated $37,000. Consider: 1) More children in before and after programs, and extracurricular activities, the higher the costs. 2) Most moms have an adjective — soccer, ballet, basketball, baseball, football, acting — in front of the “moms.” Moms are gatherers, schedulers and drivers for those to-and-fro activities. 3) Energy costs are projected to decrease, even as Siobhan and Jason get their own driver’s licenses. 4) I suspect school bus fleets across the country are going to push for newer and safer vehicles.

• Health care: An estimated $15,000. (We know that’s going to change whether Obamacare is repealed, replaced or reconstituted as DonaldCare.)

• Clothing: $10,000. (This includes the Sunday school clothes, tux rentals and those $150 leather Chuck Taylor All Stars and $90 LL Bean kids boots they’ll outgrow and be unable to fit next season.)

• Miscellaneous: This category is a sort of catchall and wedged between health care and clothing. It includes personal care, entertainment and reading materials. (So you know now to hit big warehouse stores like Costco, prowl for secondhand video games and check Gram’s‘ attic, basement or garage for children’s books and comic books that prove Batman is the darkest of DC Comics superheroes.)

That the USDA really zeroes in on the basics that parents are supposed to, expected to, provide their children is in and of itself worthy of a gold star. That it has been providing a yearly snapshot of child-rearing spending — sans government aid and college costs — for lower-, middle- and higher-income Americans since 1960 is priceless.

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