Parenthood is Pricey

No news emerging from under the dome of the US Capitol these days, as Congress is on recess and the men and women you elected are in their home districts.  However, other branches of government continue to churn, and the latest Department of Agriculture numbers on the cost of raising a child are a reminder that becoming a parent is the biggest economic decision many of us will ever make.

Your new bundle of joy will set you back in the neighborhood of $300,000, and that's before accounting for the expense of medical care for labor and delivery, on the front end, and a college degree, on the back end.  Those high priced items can push the total much, much higher.  I'll pause for a moment while you catch your breath.

As astonishing as that figure is, remember that there is income you will forego once you become a parent.  Think Progress points out that "...indirect costs like lost time, earnings, or career opportunities parents give up while raising their kids..." are not included in the calculation.  So while you're laying out cash for housing, food, medical care, and other necessities for your kids, you're likely bringing home less, especially if you're the mom.

If you want to dig a bit deeper, this Vox article breaks down the numbers nicely and shows where all that money goes, and why it's gone up so sharply in recent decades.  Clearly children are a huge investment monetarily, and of course in other more meaningful, less quantifiable ways.  Parents front the expense, without the benefit of a national paid leave policy, or an adequate child care system, or even a single guaranteed paid sick day.  In the US, apparently, "family planning" is only done at home.

You might want to stop by the local office of your US Senator or Representative, and have a little chat with them about that.

'Til next time,

Your (Wo)Man in Washington