This text is taken from Courrier de l’ économique. Click here to subscribe.
What additional expenses can you expect when choosing to have a child? It is this complex question that Statistics Canada tackled, which recently published a study on the issue, based on data from 2014 to 2017.
The short answer might be $293,000 in 2017 dollars, which is equivalent to $356,000 today. This is what the average Canadian family made up of two parents with average income spent to raise each child from birth to age 17. We’re talking about $1,648 per month in 2023 dollars, according to the Bank of Canada’s inflation calculator.
These results are not very far from a study often cited so far, and even by Statistics Canada in this report, carried out by MoneySense in 2011. The media estimated the cost of a child at $253,946, which is equivalent to $335,007 today.
The long answer is this: it depends on the type of household you live in, your income, the province you live in and the needs of your children, among other things. The richer you are, the more you loosen the purse strings for your children. Single-parent families spend a little less money per child than two-parent families. For example, a low-income single-parent household paid $231,260, compared to $238,190 for a two-parent household in the same income bracket.
In Quebec and Ontario, we generally pay less than in the Prairies and Western Canada, but more than in the Atlantic provinces. The study notes in particular that childcare costs are lower in Quebec than in all the other provinces. However, the federal agency does not give precise figures by province.
Furthermore, more and more children are staying with their parents from 18 to 22 years old, notes Statistics Canada. In this case, parents can expect a 29% increase in the amount allocated to them.
The weight of housing
Housing is primarily responsible for these high costs, representing between 27% and 32% of expenses. The arrival of a child effectively requires the addition of a bedroom. Transport and food come in second or third place, depending on the type of household. Childcare and education costs follow, then clothing, health care and miscellaneous expenses.
These data do not surprise the director of the Federation of Associations of Single-Parent and Recomposed Families of Quebec. The cost of housing is the biggest concern for families, notes Sylvie Lévesque.
“Often, there are parents who will sleep on the armchair and leave the room to their children. If we want people to be able to live better, we have to work a lot on social housing,” she explained to Dutyemphasizing that the burden of these expenses is even heavier when it falls on the shoulders of a single person.
Of course, provincial and federal family allowances, which vary from one household to another, cover part of all these costs. But many mothers still find themselves in a precarious situation, to the point of having to return to live with their parents or stay with a partner for purely financial reasons. Mme Lévesque also believes that access to reduced-contribution daycare spaces must be improved.
Several blogs and websites of financial institutions offer recommendations to future parents. Among these: establishing a family budget, encouraging the purchase of second-hand goods, using the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, using the Quebec government’s Daily Childcare Cost Calculator and using a Registered Plan education savings.
This text is taken from Courrier de l’ économique.