Hey, parents, service providers, and policymakers,  do you know how much it costs to raise a  child?


That’s the amount a single parent with an annual income of less than $73,000 will spend. These numbers are in 2022 dollars. That’s the average expenditure to raise a child from 0 to 18, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Plan accordingly.

My name is Jerome Paige. 

I’m a forensic economist.

I calculate economic damages for plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation matters. 

Today, the bright side of “the dismal science” is on my mind.

We call “economics” — the “dismal science.”

What’s an example of the dismal side of forensic economics?

In a recent matter, two children brought legal action because of the wrongful death of their mother. Because of their mother’s tragic death, someone must raise them. The person responsible for raising them needs compensation. 

What was our assignment? 

To estimate those costs of raising a child.

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published an Expenditures on Children by Family report. Thus, our job was to adjust the costs from 2015 to 2022 and project them for future cost-of-living increases. So that’s what we did.

What’s the bright side? 

As parents, service providers, or policymakers, when we estimate how much it costs to raise children, we expand our understanding of a single parent’s monetary resources necessary to care for kids. 

For example, when we take the 2015 data and adjust it to 2022, we find that a single parent with less than $73,008 will spend, on average, $11,790 on a child who’s 10.

For a single parent with more than $73,000, they will spend, on average, $21,976. (See the table at the end of this blog for more details.)

Why is it essential to provide adequate resources to help families raise their kids? In the words of Frederick Douglass: “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”  

While the costs of raising a child might appear to be high, using comparable data for 2015, the average per inmate costs in the United States ranged between $14,780 and $33,274 per year. 

So, let’s consider “expenditures on children” as an investment in a child’s future and ours. Furthermore, we need to expand our investment in all children regardless of their family’s income. 

I’ll explore more bright sides of the dismal science in upcoming blogs. A list of previous blogs is below.

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That $172,000 in 2015 is equivalent to $212,598 in 2022.

That $319,020 in 2015 is equivalent to $393,862 in 2022.