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Here's how much it costs to raise children in Canada, according to new statistics

Parents know that raising children is expensive.

A new report tries to narrow down exactly how much it costs to have a family in Canada, including the extra money it takes to get by if they decide to live at home after high school.

According to recently released data from Statistics Canada, raising two kids could cost middle-income parents more than $500,000.

But this price is based on raising those kids until the age of 17. It increases by 29 per cent if children stay at home until they are 22 years old — as many do.

The report broke down the cost of caring for two children in Canada for two parents, as well as for a single parent.

The total tab includes costs like housing, transportation, food and clothing, among other expenses.

"Generating estimates of the cost of raising a child is complex, and spending on children is highly variable across different types of families," the report published Sept. 29 reads. "An additional challenge is the growing importance of the costs incurred for adult children who live with their parents."

The report used data from the Survey of Household Spending, gathered between 2014 and 2017. With inflation, these costs are likely higher today.

According to the research, there were almost five million families in the country living with at least one child under the age of 25.

Of this, 37 per cent lived with one child, 43 per cent lived with two and 20 per cent had three or more children.


StatCan analysts broke down the costs for a two-parent, two-child family based on whether the family is considered lower-, middle- and higher-income.

For a lower-income household, the costs were about $238,190 per child, the data suggested.

At the time the data was collected, the before-tax household income for this family bracket was less than $83,013, the report noted.

In Canada, middle-income families at that time spent an average of $293,000 on one child from birth to 17 years of age, based on the survey results.

Higher-income families spent $403,910 on raising a child.

When it came to single-parent households with two children, lower-income earners spent about $231,260 per child.

Middle-income single parents cited their expenses per child at $372,110.


Unsurprisingly, the longer children stay in the home, the higher their parents' expenses are, the study showed.

And it's becoming more common, so it should be a factor would-be parents take into account when figuring out their budget.

"Over the past 40 years, Canada has seen an increase in the proportion of young adults living with at least one parent,” the report noted.

About 90 per cent of adults aged 18 to 19 and 68 per cent aged 20 to 24 were living with one parent in 2019, according to previous data from StatCan.

A child in a lower-income, two-parent household who stayed at home until the age of 22 cost an extra $70,520, on top of the initial $238,190.

For middle-income households, the total parents spent went up by $85,900.

The highest-income households spent an extra $117,360 when raising a child until they reached 22.

The costs increased similarly for one-parent households with two children staying at home into early adulthood.

The report says it costs lower-income and middle-income single parents between $299,180 and $479,830 per child if their kid decided to live at home into their early 20s.

"For two-parent and one-parent households, including children aged 18 to 22 years increased the total expenditures by 29 per cent compared with those for children aged 0 to 17 years," the report said.

As for why the costs went up so much, analysts had a couple of theories: "This increase is attributable to more years of expenses and to higher education costs (likely for post-secondary education tuition)."


The greatest expense for a family raising a child from birth to 22 years old across all income types was housing, according to the data.

The report said about 27 to 32 per cent of all expenditures accounted for housing. This included rent or mortgage, repairs, taxes, insurance, utilities, household furnishings and operations.

Transportation was the second largest expense for most parents, accounting for 18 to 20 per cent of their budget. Transportation was a smaller share, 11 to 15 per cent, of expenses for single parents, a discrepancy StatCan analysts thought was likely because two-parent families often have two cars.

Food, purchased at stores and restaurants, was the second largest expense for one-parent households, accounting for 18 to 20 per cent of the budget.

This category was the third highest amount for two-parent families, taking up between 16 and 18 per cent of total expenses.

Additionally, child care and education were a "relatively large expense," the report noted.

About 13 to 17 per cent of the total expenditure for one child went to this category, which includes tuition fees, textbooks and school supplies.

Child-care costs have steadily climbed in most Canadian cities since the time the data was collected.

The cost of raising children varied across Canada, with two-parent, two-child households in the Prairies and on the West Coast paying the most.

The expenses of parents living in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia were 8 to 15 per cent higher than those in the Atlantic provinces at the time.

The costs were about 5 to 9 per cent higher for Ontario and Quebec families than those on the East Coast.

This breakdown, StatCan observed, suggested the general cost of living in the Atlantic provinces was lower than in other places in Canada.

Previous research also suggested that living in Canada's territories costs about 1.46 times more than anywhere else in the country, the report said.

StatCan left out those living in Canada's north from this report because of a lack of data from the territories on family spending.

"Caring for children is among the key functions of families and the larger society," StatCan's report read. "Although the decision to become a parent is personal, it has individual and social consequences." Top Stories


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