The Corner

Re: The Affordability of Children

Some e-mails:

Dear K-Lo:

You wrote:

Maybe you’d stay in an apartment if you didn’t have your child, but you might decide you want a house with or without him. It doesn’t seem right to “blame” the kid for the costs.

Even if you did “blame” it on them, the proper amount would be (in a four-person family) one quarter of the mortgage MINUS the cost of renting that apartment.   Moreover, the mortgage is purchasing what (until recently) was generally assumed to be an appreciating asset – indeed, the largest, lest risky and fastest-appreciating asset of most individuals.  Viewing that as a straight-up “cost” is a peculiar perspective.

A Home-Owning Parent


I’ve always been pretty skeptical of “cost of children” numbers for the

reasons expressed in your post. I have been blessed with one child and

we spend a significant amount because of it but that’s a choice we make

based on the money we have. For instance, we send her to a private

Christian school that costs about $11k per year. We don’t HAVE to do

that, of course and if we had less money, we’d apply for financial aid

or put her in public school. If we had three children I suspect we’d

send them to public school and save $132,000 in tuition. At the same

time we spend that on tuition, we only buy used cars (usually with over

100,000 miles when we get them).

I suspect that nine out of ten couples spend roughly what they earn

whether or not they have children.


“It simply assumes that if a couple has two children and a house valued at $200,000, then each family member incurs $50,000 in housing costs”

Under this logic, shouldn’t the household pets be allocated an equal share of the housing costs? Add one dog to this example and its share would be $40k. Expensive pooch!


We wouldn’t want to punish parents with a house, after all.

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