- Raising kids in the US is more expensive than ever before.
- A new survey commissioned by The New York Times found that finances are a main reason why people aren’t having kids, or are having fewer kids than they’d like.
- The average weekly childcare cost increased from just $84 in 1985 to $143 in 2011 (adjusted for inflation).
The New York Times recently commissioned a survey to start figuring out why Americans are having fewer kids than in years past.
According to the results, there’s one main reason driving people to have fewer kids than usual and to abstain from parenthood entirely: money.
The survey respondents were 1,858 men and women ages 20 to 45.
Among people who said they had or expected to have fewer children than they considered ideal, four of the top five reasons had to do with childcare costs. Sixty-four percent said childcare is too expensive; 49% said they’re worried about the economy; 44% said they can’t afford more children; and 43% said they waited to have kids because of financial instability (multiple answers were allowed).
Among those who said they didn’t want children or weren’t sure, 31% said it was because they couldn’t afford child care; 24% said they can’t afford a house; 23% said they were worried about the economy; and 13% said they had too much student debt.
These statistics are perhaps unsurprising to anyone who has kids, or even friends who are parents. As Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reported, adjusting for inflation, the average weekly childcare cost increased from just $84 in 1985 to $143 in 2011, according to the US Census Bureau.
Schooling is a main culprit: Childcare and pre-college education now comprise 18% of the total cost of raising a kid, compared to 2% in 1960.
To be sure, raising a kid is less costly in certain areas of the United States. As Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback reported, an analysis by Credit Loan finds that parents in New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut will allocate less than 60% of their total income to child-related costs. Compare that to more than 80% in Nevada, Florida, and Arizona.
It’s also worth noting that finances aren’t the only factor in people’s decision not to have kids, or to have fewer kids than they’d like. In the Times survey, the most popular reason for not having kids or not being sure was wanting leisure time.
According to data from the Pew Research Center, 48% of American adults who are employed and have young children say they have enough free time to do the things they want to do, compared to 70% of adults without young children.