Are Girls or Boys More Expensive to Raise?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Raising a child is expensive; the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that a middle income family with a child born in 2012 will spend about $241,000 ($301,970 adjusted for projected inflation) on child-rearing expenses for the next seventeen years. This hefty price tag is multiplied by the fact that many people who choose to have children decide to have more than one.

Boys and girls are expensive to raise, but people have different theories about whether boys or girls are more expensive, or if they are equally expensive. The answer to this question depends somewhat on the family that the child grows up in, and on what type of income level they have and how much they like to spend on their kids. The answer also depends on who you ask, because many parents and researchers have their own opinions about this question.

A study by found that daughters cost more than sons because they have expensive hobbies, have more expensive clothes, and also get more expensive parties. However, a report by Halifax Bank found that boys cost more, primarily because of extra school uniform, sports things, and furniture needed for boys because it wears out. Although neither of these studies were completed in the US, the needs of boys and girls are similar.

One of the most common arguments for girls costing more to raise, is the fact that many girls like clothing, and girls’ clothes are sometimes more expensive than boys’ clothes. This is a valid argument, because often dresses and fancy shoes cost a lot of money. Girls also often want haircuts more often, want to style their hair more, and may pay for expensive beauty treatments, more often. Girls also usually start wearing makeup as they get older, which is something that the parents of boys usually don’t have to pay for.

Men also sometimes get discounts that women are not offered, and women sometimes have to pay more for the same service (like dry cleaning.) One of the most difficult aspects of determining whether boys or girls cost more to raise, is the fact that it really depends on the family, and the child. Although many women will enjoy regular haircuts and nice clothing, so will many young men or boys. Many of the opinions about whether girls or boys are more expensive actually seem to come from stereotypes about the two genders, including the fact that girls wear makeup, want nicer clothes, and so on.

Although many girls now participate in sports, by the age of 14, girls drop out of sports at two times the rate of boys. Although parents of girls do have to pay for uniforms and activity fees, they have to pay them less overall. This also cuts down on fees like transportation to sporting events, food for sports trips, and expensive equipment fees.

A study by the American Society for Nutrition found that boys do consume more food and than girls, especially during puberty. Because food is one of the biggest costs of raising a child, this is one reason that it may be more expensive to raise boys. However, if you have a son who is on the small side, or just doesn’t eat much, then this may not be true for you, just like you might have a daughter who eats a lot and therefor adds costs to your family food budget.

Another consideration is insurance and healthcare. Although many parents have family plans that cover everyone in the family, one study from the University of Cambridge found that men were more susceptible to illness than women, and that means that men (and probably boys) will sometimes have more medical bills. However, other research suggests that girls are more likely to suffer from depression than boys are.

Car insurance can be more expensive for boys as well, although not by much. Most research suggests that women are more likely to aspire to college, which means that little girls might be more expensive if you choose to help them after they are legally adults. Most issues that supposedly determine whether girls or boys are more expensive to raise can actually be seen either way, depending on which research you are looking for. In the end, boys and girls are both expensive, and depending on who you ask, one might be more expensive than the other. But much of the answer to this question will depend on your family spending habits, and on your children’s habits as well.

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