How Much Are Kids Worth?

by Ken Canfield

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raising a child from birth to age 18 will cost, depending on your income and spending habits, between $174,000 and $345,000.

Even using the lower figure, that’s more than $9,500 per year, or $186 per week. In other words, $26.50 a day – a bit more than a dollar an hour! What value do we get, as the meter ticks every minute?

A financial advisor might look at those figures and say that if you want to become rich, don’t have children. Actually, it’s just the opposite.

How can you put a price tag on feeling a child move inside your wife’s womb, or hearing your newborn let out that first, glorious wail, or hearing ‘Da-Da’ for the first time?

What do you get for your $100,000 and more? A sticky hand to hold, a partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, riding bikes, building castles on the beach or in the sky – and a glimpse of God’s goodness every day.

You have the power to heal boo-boos with a kiss, scare away monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, and love your children without limits. And if you are so blessed, one day they will return the love without counting the cost.

So, are kids worth all that cash, the equivalent to a second mortgage? As a commercial for fatherhood should say: Being a dad is costly, but the experiences are priceless.

Ken Canfield is the founder of the National Center for Fathering (