All through the industrial revolution, children were being perceived as forms of economic asset. Despite the fact that they were extra mouths to feed, within ten years of age, most of these children would have already started working either in the fields or at home. Therefore, these children ultimately provide additional valuable income to the family, thus making the cost of raising a child low. They were simply investment for the family since they required no schooling and other fancy things that the children of today hold dear. In fact having children in those days was in itself an economic incentive. However, unlike the industrial age children, the modern economics of bringing up children has totally changed. Nowadays, children are unlikely to start working before the age of 18, and when they start working it is also unlikely that they will give the money to their parents. In this paper, I will compare and contrast the economics of child raising in Brazil and the US.
The economics of bringing up children in the United States has been extensively expounded on by a 2012 research article Field Guide to the US Economy. They estimate that, a low income family that earns less than $40,000, will roughly spend around $124, 800 on their children until the age of 18 (Teller-Elsberg et al, 2013). In addition, they have estimated that, for a family that is earning more than $65,500, their estimated cost for raising the child until they attain the age of 18 years is $249,180. Economic wise, child raising in the US has been reported to potentially reduce the earning power of the parents, especially the women. The report claims that, although firms in the US offer pay during maternity leave, children normally leads to poorer and fewer career opportunities or chances of getting a promotion. Therefore, this trend in itself is a very serious economic issue that has led to the immense decline in birth rates in the US. This, in the future, affects the economy in terms of fewer workers to pay taxes while old people receiving healthcare treatment and pensions.
On the other hand, the economic state of child raising in Brazil has been reported by the official Forbes website to being also a key factor that consequently affects the economy. In this article, Kenneth Rapoza reports that, in this country, it costs a massive R$2.08 million (around $1.4 million) for an above average (Class A) earning family to raise their child until they attain the age of 23 years (Rapoza,2013). This article is based on the survey that was carried out by the Invent Sales and Marketing Trade Institute. It further showed that, the largest costs for raising a child in Brazil emanates from education costs, housing, food and the healthcare costs which are known to escalate to extreme charges in this country. Most rich people in Brazil and the US rarely takes their children to public schools, it is for this reason that the cost of raising a child by this class of people is very high. The middle class earning citizens in Brazil were to be spending at least R$407,100 per child until they get to 23 years.
Conclusively, it becomes apparent that various subsidies for the children growing in both the US and Brazil would alter the social trends in having fewer children (Teller-Elsberg et al, 2013). With costs such as $ 200,000 in the US and R$ 400, 000in Brazil, the subsidy is definitely supposed to be high so as to make an impact. Therefore, the best and easiest option would be for the respective governments to encourage immigration so as the economy continue flourishing in the future.
Rapoza, Kenneth. A million Dollars: What it Costs to Raise A Kid in Brazil. Forbes. February
27, 2013. Web. Retrieved, March 24, 2014
Teller-Elsberg, Jonathan, Nancy Folbre, and James Heintz. Field Guide to the US Economy: A
Compact and Irreverent Guide to Economic Life in America. The New Press, 2013.