A $455,000 Child Vs. A $145,000 Child

is it wrong to hate a childIf you invested almost half a million dollars into raising one horse and only a fraction of that raising a second horse, you’d expect the first horse to do better in life, wouldn’t you? Be shinier, sleeker, more confident, faster. Maybe it would jump higher, eat more apples. Brush its own hair, I don’t know, whatever good horses do. Maybe you’d think of it as more valuable. But what about children?

High-income families who live in the urban Northeast, for example, are projected to spend nearly $455,000 to raise their child to the age of 18, while low-income rural families will spend much less, an estimated $145,500, according to the report.

Part of this can be chalked up to the astronomical cost of childcare, especially in certain regions:

In 2012, center-based care for one infant was greater than median rent payments in nearly half of the states, according to Child Care Aware of America’s most recent report. In Seattle, Britta Gidican and her boyfriend spend $1,380 each month on daycare for their 17-month-old son, just $20 less than they spend on their mortgage each month. “When I was pregnant I knew daycare would be expensive,” said Gidican, a public relations manager. “But I didn’t expect to pay two mortgages.”

Hahaha I’d be THRILLED to pay $1380 for daycare. That’s how crazy the situation is in brownstone Brooklyn. But yes, even $1380 is ridiculous. (“Even.”) $1380 a month is $16,560 a year to have someone else wipe your child’s nose and give them blocks to chew on and sing the ABCs for the forty zillionth time.

In France, where many children go to a high-quality, subsidized creche, and then a free ecole maternelle for pre-school starting at age 3, kids don’t just learn language and numbers. Presumably they learn to socialize with other children who are not exactly like them. We don’t learn this very well, America, and we don’t teach it. The Mike “No Angel” Brown tragedy, and its fallout, have made that clear.

Increasingly, we live in different worlds. Rich parents can start with baby FitBits and ramp up to paying adult tutors $1K an hour for test prep, while poor/minority parents have to hope their kids don’t get summarily executed in a Wal-Mart or after a car accident. Just this week, a TV producer in LA was arrested and detained for suspicion of … well, for something:

“I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was a well educated American citizen that had received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, an MBA from Indiana University … and an executive leadership certificate from Harvard Business School,” Belk said. “Hey, I was ‘tall,’ ‘bald,’ a ‘male’ and ‘black,’ so I fit the description.”

In a statement, police expressed regret.

The stark inequality in terms of how much certain families can or do spend on their offspring vs others can have real repercussions. Do wealthier families see their own children, and their cohort’s children, as more human, somehow? More worthy of consideration and empathy, because they have had more resources poured into them? Is that partly behind the insidiousness of seeing some people as flawed individuals, more than the sum of their parts, and others as potential bank robbers or “thugs”?

Related: Eight charts that show why racial equality is a myth in America



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