Is it More Expensive to Raise Boys or Girls?

By: Georgia | Published: Dec 31, 2023

Raising a child is a significant financial responsibility. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years at an average of $241,080.

This figure raises an important question: Is there a notable difference in the cost of raising boys compared to girls? This article delves into various aspects of these costs, providing insights into the financial implications of raising children of different genders.

The Financial Difference Between Raising Boys and Girls

According to an infographic from Huffpost Business, girls are more expensive to raise than boys. The difference amounts to $80 per month, which translates to $960 per year, accumulating to $17,280 over 18 years.

Two young children, a girl and a boy, stand at the edge of a tranquil lake. The girl, wearing a pink t-shirt, blue jeans, and rubber boots, has her back to the camera, a band-aid on her right arm. The boy, also with his back to the camera, wears a blue t-shirt, shorts, and similar boots

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The total monthly cost to raise a girl is $450, in comparison to $370 for a boy, highlighting a significant disparity in gender-related expenses.

Why Girls Tend to Be More Expensive

Girls’ hobbies and clothing are the primary factors contributing to their higher cost. A study on British families by Love Money reports that girls have more expensive hobbies and demands by nature.

From behind, two children are seen lying in a hammock, with their backs to the viewer. The hammock is striped with bright orange and dark blue colors. One child has long, blonde hair tied in a ponytail, and the other has brown hair in a braid

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A report from About claims that dance classes, for instance, can range from $60 to $150 per month. Additionally, the cost of dance-related apparel and accessories further increases these expenses, illustrating how specific interests can significantly impact overall child-rearing costs.

The Role of Fashion in Raising Girls

Fashion plays a substantial role in the increased costs associated with raising girls. Huffpost reports that the average monthly expense on clothing for girls is $100, compared to $50 for boys.

Two young girls and a woman in a clothing store. The girls, one with braided hair, are examining a pink garment. The woman, wearing glasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and a chunky knit cardigan, is adjusting her glasses and smiling at the children

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Over their childhood, girls accumulate over $3,000 worth of clothing, whereas boys’ clothing totals around $2,700. Accessories, including hats and bags, add approximately $2,000 more to the cost of raising a girl.

Parental Perspectives on Spending for Girls

Parents observe firsthand the differences in spending between genders.

A candid moment captures two young children laughing together on a beige carpeted floor. The girl to the left wears a floral shirt and is mid-laugh with her eyes closed, while the boy to the right, in an orange shirt, is whispering into her ear, both sharing a moment of delight. Behind them, an adult woman with tattooed arms is braiding the girl’s hair

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As Tanya K. tells LearnVest, “My nearly 15-year-old and 12-year-old daughters have an incessant desire to go shopping and purchase clothing, shoes and any other cute stuff they see. I can’t blame them as they work hard at school and like to look nice, but spending for them far outweighs spending for my son!”

Additional Beauty-Related Costs for Girls

As girls grow older, their beauty-related expenses also increase. Money Magazine reports, “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.”

A young girl in a white strap dress with blue floral patterns is braiding the hair of another young girl seated in front of her. The seated girl, wearing a white sleeveless dress, has her hair styled in multiple buns on her head

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Money Magazine continues, “Girls also often want haircuts more often, want to style their hair more and may pay for expensive beauty treatments.”


The Financial Savvy of Girls

Girls seem to have an edge in negotiating for more funds from their parents. According to Love Money, girls manage to obtain $150 more from their parents than boys do.

An adult and a child are seen from behind walking hand in hand down a gravel path in the woods. The adult is wearing a yellow jacket and black pants, and the child is in a red vest, long-sleeved purple shirt, blue jeans, and a light pink hat

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This suggests that girls may be more adept at negotiating for their wants, leading to increased expenditures in their upbringing.


The Unseen Costs of Raising Boys

While girls are generally more expensive, boys also incur substantial costs. A study from Cambridge University suggests that boys may have higher medical expenses, being more prone to illness and accidents.

Four children are joyfully playing in a forest, with a light mist hanging between the trees. The child in the foreground, wearing a blue shirt, is tilting his head back with arms outstretched. The next child in green is reaching towards the sky, and the two others are in dynamic poses, all seemingly in a moment of play and excitement. The forest floor is covered with green grass

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These unexpected medical costs can significantly affect the financial planning of families with boys, emphasizing that each gender brings its own set of financial challenges.


Insurance Costs for Young Male Drivers

Insurance costs for boys, especially during their teenage years, can be considerable.

View from the backseat of a vehicle showing a young male driver from behind

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Cars Direct notes, “Statistically, boys are much more likely to be an accident or get cited for speeding, so insurance companies will assign a young male driver a higher risk rating than a girl the same age.” This increased risk leads to higher insurance premiums, adding to the financial burden of raising boys.


The Importance of Thoughtful Investments in Children

It is crucial to make meaningful investments in a child’s upbringing. LearnVest emphasizes the importance of ensuring that a child is truly interested in an activity before incurring its expenses.

Four pairs of legs from the knee down, aligned side by side on a wooden bridge. Each person is wearing rubber boots caked with mud, showcasing a variety of colors: dark grey, blue, green with yellow, and red. The children's boots are brightly colored and one child wears striped leggings

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Irene Shere, founder and director of The Early Childhood Consultation Center, advises parents to involve their child in financial decisions, saying to Learn Vest, “Make sure your child is truly interested in a certain activity or expense, ask her to pitch in time, effort or even money. That will help her make conscious decisions about what’s important to her, and also encourage her to value the experience more in the end.”


Encouraging Financial Responsibility and Conscious Spending

Encouraging children to contribute to their expenses can foster a sense of responsibility and an understanding of the value of money.

A group of children participating in a ladder drill on a bright green artificial turf. The view is from behind, showing them stepping through the rungs of a flat agility ladder laid out on the ground. They are dressed in colorful casual clothing and jackets

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This approach not only helps manage the costs of child-rearing but also prepares children for financial independence. By involving children in these decisions, parents can teach them to make conscious choices about their expenditures and interests.


Understanding the Costs of Raising Children

While girls may generally be more expensive to raise than boys, both genders come with their unique financial demands.

A child's hand is pictured touching pieces of brightly colored modeling clay laid out on a dark wooden table. From left to right, the malleable clay is in colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple

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Understanding these costs and preparing for them is crucial for parents. The goal is not merely to manage expenses but also to invest wisely in the development and happiness of children, regardless of their gender.