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Report: Child-Raising Costs Climbing

Graphic: The advocacy group Voices for Virginia's children says the costs associated with child care are especially worrisome.
Graphic: The advocacy group Voices for Virginia's children says the costs associated with child care are especially worrisome.
August 15, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. – The cost to have a child keeps climbing in the United States.

The latest analysis from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that middle-income families with a child born in 2012 can expect to spend about $241,000 on expenses over the next 17 years.

Housing is the biggest expense, but after that it's childcare.

Emily Griffey, a senior policy analyst with Voices for Virginia's Children, says the costs are staggering.

"The average cost for an infant in a child care center is $10,600, and that's more than a year of college tuition,” she says. “That's just an exorbitant expense, especially for young families who haven't been saving their entire lives to pay."

Griffey says more subsidies for child care or high-quality preschool would alleviate much of the burden, especially on low-income working families.

In Virginia, Griffey says the federal sequester cuts have meant fewer options, including 800 fewer spaces in Head Start programs this year.

"While our costs are increasing, opportunities for low-income families to afford high-quality preschool are dwindling," she maintains.

Griffey adds Virginia also could help ease the financial burden of health care on low-income families by opting into the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.


Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA