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Cost of parenting in 2022: A look at economy's impact on raising a child

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Posted at 1:27 PM, Aug 08, 2022

CLEVELAND — With back to school right around the corner, it’s that time of year when parents notice just how much the cost of a child can truly be.

Supply chain issues, still-high gas prices, plus daycare staffing shortages prompted WEWS to take a closer look at the cost of parenting.

Child Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines child care as “affordable” when it costs families no more than 7% of their household income.

However, Child Care Aware of America data shows 72% of parents are spending 10% or more, with 51% spending more than 20% of their household income.

Back to School Shopping

The National Retail Federation released a report showing that back-to-school spending is expected to be 40.6% more than in 2019, averaging $864 per household.

Inflation impact on Gas and Food 

In their July 2022 report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that compared to July 2021, Americans are seeing a 59.9% increase in the cost of gasoline and a 10.4% increase in the cost of food.

Michael Goldberg, with the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, told WEWS that the safety net for parents from the government, in the form of stimulus checks or child tax credits, is gone.

On top of rising prices for almost everything, Goldberg says a parent’s wallet is stretched more than ever before.

“This is a tough time as parents look to send kids back to school because it's more expensive across the board,” he said. “What should be a really celebratory time, at least for parents getting their kids back in school. Not that all kids are celebrating, going back into the classroom. I think there's a lot of additional stress for parents this time of year.”

WEWS spoke with several parents about the impact of these rising prices. Here are some of their responses:

"You have to make a decision: do I go work or do I stay home and take care of multiple children?"

"Diapers, wipes, milk, food has gone up. Just all the little everyday things you need have skyrocketed." 

"I’ve cut back a lot. I’ve switched to cheaper brands and I’m potty training a little bit sooner because the cost of diapers are out of control."

Clay LePard at WEWS first reported this story.