Survey Reveals 90% Of Parents Think Raising Kids Would Be Easier If They Had More Money

Money offers access and stability in an unstable world.

Mom, dad, and daughter fizkes / Shutterstock

We often hear that raising a child is a labor of love, yet it also requires time, money, and a very specific kind of hard work. From infancy on, a parent’s role is to be present and to provide for their kids, come what may.

It’s no secret that the cost of having kids is more expensive now than ever, which is forcing many parents to consider the financial impact of growing their families.

A survey revealed that 90% of parents think raising kids would be easier if they had more money.

According to a survey conducted by LendingTree, a majority of parents in the U.S. feel heightened pressure when it comes to providing for their kids.


In some respects, this outcome seems obvious: Money provides access and opens doors. Yet it’s one thing for parents not to be able to afford a fancy vacation and another not to be able to afford dinner.

Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 75% said having kids is way more expensive than they expected it to be.

@wallstreetjournal A Brookings Institution estimate found that a married, middle-income couple with two children would spend $310,605—or an average of $18,271 a year—to raise their younger child born in 2015 through age 17. The multiyear total is up $26,011, or more than 9%, from a calculation based on the inflation rate over two years ago, before rapid price increases hit the economy, Brookings said. #parenting #childcare #money #raisingkids #finance #personalfinance #wsj #wallstreetjournal #thewallstreetjournal ♬ Music box waiting room relaxation(143634) - M.O.M

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The study found that the average cost of raising a child under the age of 18 comes out to $11,505 a year, with some variation. Millennial parents between the ages of 28 and 43 spend $12,484 per child each year.

While child-related costs are practically infinite, food, childcare, and clothing topped the list of expenses that parents struggle with most, with 21% saying current food costs are a major issue, 19% saying childcare is their main concern, and 13% saying that the cost of clothing presents a challenge.

Aside from keeping kids clothed, fed, and generally cared for, many parents reported feeling acute financial stress in providing their children with extracurricular activities and opportunities for their future.

little boy riding a bike with his dad's help - Yuri A. / Shutterstock


Forty-five percent of parents said they overspend on their kids to keep up with what other families are providing for their children — a number that speaks to the downfalls of comparison culture and the emotional challenges of wanting to provide kids their best possible life.

Just over half of the parents surveyed said they’ve gone into debt to pay for their children’s activities, yet 72% say that they don’t regret that decision.

Of parents who think life would be easier with more money, 90% would spend their extra income on clothes and extracurricular experiences.

This number suggests that parents are funneling the majority of their income to prepare their kids for what they deem to be a successful future. Yet the high cost of having kids doesn’t just affect the kids themselves — those costs ripple out, affecting their parents’ lifestyle choices, as well.

Seventy-seven percent of parents have made financial sacrifices for the sake of their children, 81% reported reducing their spending, 37% have delayed investments or retirement, and 25% have sacrificed their own education or career opportunities.


The high cost of having kids is a major consideration for those considering growing their families, and many people are deciding not to have them.

dad with baby Ptashkimenko / Shutterstock

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According to the Pew Research Center, the number of young adults reporting they are unlikely to have children has grown from 37% in 2018 to 44% in 2021.  


Those who already have children report that they likely won’t have anymore.

Seventy-four percent of parents under 50 say they’re unlikely to keep having kids, and 26% of parents under 40 who aren’t having more kids cited financial reasons for their decision.

While some maintain that people should only have kids if they can afford it, that narrative is dangerously exclusionary. Denying people access to starting families veers into eugenics territory with its deeply racist and classist history. Putting restrictions on who gets to be a parent should never be permitted.


Julie Kashen, the director for women’s economic justice at The Century Foundation, highlighted just what’s wrong with that attitude in an article for Fortune Magazine.

“Too often we hear the rhetoric, ‘If you can’t afford kids, don’t have them,’” Kashen said. “But having children isn’t like buying an in-home sauna or a fancy car, and it certainly should not be reserved for the wealthy.”

@sheisapaigeturner Replying to @babyrooscrew money is not a requirement to have children. Friendly reminder the average household income in the US is less than 60k #millennialmoney #millennialfinance #raisingkids #millennialparents ♬ original sound - Paige

A friend of mine with two kids noted that the reason parents want more money is for the stability it would ostensibly provide. She mentioned there are certain costs to be expected, costs that parents can plan for — clothes for growing bodies, swimming lessons, and dance classes, and the ever-increasing cost of childcare.


“It’s the unpredictable costs that sink you,” she explained, citing healthcare as a major concern. “Anytime you add a person to your family, it’s a huge wildcard.”

In an ideal world, money wouldn’t be such a huge factor when it comes to having kids. The U.S. is at what appears to be a clear tipping point, with money being the deciding factor for a choice everyone should have the right to make, regardless of how much they’re paid. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.