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Economics of an Only Child


For the next 2 1/2 weeks, I will only have one child at home, Princess. This will be a completely new experience for me. And it’s gotten me thinking about the economics of an only child.

Less food, less water, less laundry detergent and so on. Then there’s the flip side of less people to complete chores around the house, entertain one another and consider when making plans.

I realize that by the time we adjust to not having Gymnast home, he will be on his way back, but this has gotten me thinking about the future. Princess will graduate in just a couple of years and is chomping at the bit to head off to college already.

Economics of an Only Child

Let’s talk about the economics of single child…

Back in 2013 Time published an article title The Economic Reason for Having Just One Child.

“According to the USDA, a child born in 2011 will cost an average of $234,900 to raise to age 18. If your household income is over $100,000, you can raise that number to about $390,000. Yes, there are some savings after the first child — you don’t have to buy another high chair! — but it’s not as though you get a huge volume discount on subsequent offspring. There are also opportunity costs of a mother’s loss of income from parental leave, scaling back hours or dropping out of the workforce entirely. No wonder, according to the USDA, two-parent households with two children devote over one-third of their income to their kids. Add it all up and there’s a strong economic case for stopping at one child.”

I will be honest, I did not consider the “whole” cost of raising a child when I started having children. And I really never considered having just one child either.

When adopting the twins became an option, I certainly did consider the financial implications. The cost of car insurance and college was at the top of my list when I was faced with that decision. In the end, I went with my heart rather than the numbers.

Did you consider the economics when you considered having children? And when you started expanding your family?

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  • Reply Shanna |

    We didn’t consider economics when we had kids. But thought more about it as they got older and went to college.As for the household, what I found changed the most when my first went away to college was how much less laundry (hence water use) I did. She played several sports and worked out several times a day so there was SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY. Plus lots of showers. But groceries didn’t change much because she wasn’t a big eater. Next child was the opposite-we bought way less food but she hated doing laundry (and working out haha) so I didn’t see a change in the amount of water or laundry. I am guessing the next two will be less food and laundry as they are really involved in sports and big eaters!

  • Reply Anon |

    We’re one and done mainly because of finances – we’d like to be able to put our son through undergrad loan-free and it would be difficult with another child. I do wonder if we would be able to be so logical about it if we REALLY wanted another. Our family feels complete, so it was an easy decision.

  • Reply Sarah Taylor |

    There’s a popular theory of economics that contends that there’s really no difference between deciding to raise a child and making any other investment. Kids, like anything else, the thinking goes, are a form of capital that yield a future flow of valuable services.

So, what do you think ?