$241K a kid? Middle-income families struggle with rising cost of - KMOV.com

$241K a kid? Middle-income families struggle with rising cost of children

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

LOS ANGELES-- Sixteen-month-old Juniper Jagiello is one of more than 10,000 children on a waiting list to get free or subsidized child care at the non-profit Child Care Resource Center in Los Angeles.

Her father, Jeremy, supports the family as a nurse. Her mother Tamara wants to go back to school, but says childcare services can cost up to $1,800 dollars a month.

It’s “definitely not” something she can afford, she said.

According to a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, middle class parents of a baby born in 2012 will spend about $241,000, raising their child from birth to age 18 - and that’s just for the basics.

“That doesn’t even include college, so it kinda makes me really wonder, um, ‘that’s a lot of money,’” Tamara said, her voice shaking.

Housing is the largest expense for families, but child care and education costs have increased the most over the past few decades, now totaling 18 percent. 

Overall, food prices are cheaper for most parents, but it’s still the second largest expense for low-income families.

“Food costs as a percentage of household costs are a much more considerable portion of raising a child in lower income households,” said Kevin Concannon, under secretary at the Department of Agriculture.

The Fagiellos are grateful for what they have, but their wait for child care assistance could take months, or even years.

A former version of this article inaccurately stated “low-income families” struggle with the rising cost of children. That has been corrected to “middle-income” families.

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