One of the reasons the fertility rate in America has been dropping is due to the rising cost of raising a child. Every few years, the Department of Agriculture recalculates the cost to raise a child in America. In fact, there is a USDA Cost of Raising a Child Calculator that you can use to personalize your calculations.
One of the biggest factors in the increased cost of raising a child is due to childcare costs. The cost of childcare alone (when adjusted for inflation) has climbed nearly twice as fast as other prices since the recession ended in 2009. On the other hand, the cost for housing has remained fairly constant over the years. Some costs for basic items have actually decreased slightly due to advances in agriculture and technology.
One of the biggest variables in cost has to do with where you live in the country and how much you earn. The Department of Agriculture estimates that the average cost of raising a child to age 18 is $245,000. However, high-income families who live in the urban Northeast are projected to spend nearly $455,000 to raise their child. By contrast, low-income rural families will spend approximately $145,500. In other words, you could spend $200,000 more or $100,000 less depending on your geography and income.
The above numbers also explain a phenomenon I have written about in the past. The fertility rate in America varies from group to group. Religious people (especially Christians) have more children than secular people. Also, conservative people generally have more children than liberal people.
The Bible teaches us that: “children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” As Christians we understand that children are a gift from the Lord and thus worthy of our focus and attention. We understand that they are worth the time, effort, and cost.