In my last couple of posts, I wrote about having three kids. And this just came out…
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) just released regionally-based adjustments on the Federal poverty line. I don’t know much about the EPI; I’ll leave it up to you whether you agree with their definition of basic standard of living: “the income a family needs in order to attain a secure yet modest living standard by estimating community-specific costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes.”
What really caught my attention was how much BIG the cost jump was to three kids versus the jump to having two kids. For example, the cost of raising a family in the SF East Bay:
3 kids: $92k
2 kids: $75k
1 kid: $69k
The difference between having two kids versus one: $6,000.
Jump from two to three kids: $17,000. The EPI estimates it costs three times more.
Now I generally ignore these sorts of things because people are always getting freaked out about whether or not they can afford to have kids. Some people have a legitimate concern their. But most people who read and write these sorts of articles can probably afford to have kids — they’ll just have to (*gasp*) make some sacrifices.
But what caught my attention was the massive jump from two kids to three. That seemed rather incredible to me. But then I reflect on our experience…
- upgraded to minivan; literally could not fit 3 carseats in the back of our sedan
- prolonged the number of years we needed childcare (my wife thereafter reduced to part-time, which in a sense is a “cost”)
- we were blessed enough to already have a place large enough – but if we were in a 2-bedroom place, we could obviously make do with 3 kids, but an upgrade would certainly make sense (actually, with the massive dip in interest rates over the last few years, our housing costs have actually decreased).
Even with the above, I’m kind of scratching my head on this one…