When Erica Teran’s pregnancy test came back positive, her joy was tinged with anxiety. She and her husband want children, but the pregnancy caught them unawares and without savings. Teran said that the couple’s combined income pushes them to middle class. Even so, she worries that they may not be able to afford their first child.
“We’ve had to move. It wasn’t to move to find a bigger place, it was to move to find cheaper rent because there’s no way we would be able to afford childcare and the rent that we’re paying,” she said.
Each year new parents spend thousands of dollars on babies. A study with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that in 2013 middle class parents spend about $12,940 on a baby’s first year alone. And by the time that child reaches college, parents will have spent on average $240,000.
The cost of raising a child has steadily climbed in recent years with a 23 percent increase since the USDA first calculated the cost in 1960. This hits low income New Yorkers especially hard. Roughly a third of their income goes towards raising children.
Teran said that her own income would barely cover childcare. She said that family in Brooklyn volunteered to babysit while she and her husband go to work. Teran said that without that arrangement, she would have considered quitting her job.
“Kind of makes you think what’s the point of working. Might as well stay home, but then you lose out on money. It’s this cycle of working to pay someone else to be with your own child.”
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