Government figures put the total cost of raising a child at $279,000, but some increasingly common expenses can send the number soaring over $1 million. Where you fall on the kid-spending spectrum.
By EILEEN DASPIN and ELLEN GAMERMAN
March 3, 2007; Page P1
The government says families in the top-third income bracket will spend $279,450 to raise a child born in 2005 through age 17 — or about $16,000 a year. The government clearly hasn’t been to some kids’ birthday parties lately.
In San Diego, Jacqueline Jones recently rang in her fifth year with a $1,000 mermaid-theme party. The fête, held at a community pool, included a piñata, pizza, cake, juice boxes, customized goodie bags for 20 and a former beauty queen who arrived dressed head to toe as Ariel, the Disney princess. Jacqueline’s mom, Laura, says it’s worth it. “A lot of my friends said I’m crazy, but I mean, it’s for a memory she’ll have forever.”
With the debate about the country’s wealth gap heating up again, pampered kids provide some of the most dramatic examples, from toddlers in $800 strollers to 10-year-olds with cellphones. But for many families, drawing the line between attentive parenting and extravagance is a tough call; even parents who are relatively strapped will go to great lengths for their children. And though millions can’t afford the government’s child-cost estimate, there is no question that many others are spending far more without viewing it as extreme.