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The USDA came out with an interesting study regarding expenses incurred by two parents in the home vs. a household with a single parent.
Studies in family economics use micro-economic theory, which is a theory that studies the behavior individual household’s decisions of allocating certain limited resources. Using this theory, economists are able to study how these decisions affect the supply and demand on goods and services. Supply and demand determines prices, which then determines quantity and quality of the goods and services most in demand.
According to the USDA’s revised study completed ten years ago in 2001, with an income between $45,000 to $65,000, single parents spent more on childcare/education for their 3-5 year old child, than did the two-parent households. Two-parent families spent $1,530 on childcare/education, while single-parent families spent $1,620.
That one statistic seems to contradict the side of public debates about the effects of children in single-family homes. Those who advocate for two-parent households as opposed to single parent households, claim that children of single parent households can suffer emotional upsets and preoccupations that affect their education negatively.
A few factors in the survey may surprise most people. Single-parent households with incomes less than $40,000, for a child from birth to two years, spent an overall total of $118,590, showing a less than $7,000 difference in two-parent households that spent $124,800. They spent this money on housing, food, transportation, clothing, healthcare, childcare, education, and on miscellaneous.
The two-parent family in the above example spent $840 on childcare in the child’s first two years, while single parent households spent an average of only $530. This indicates that both parents in the two-parent household worked and left their baby in the care of others, which seems to make the case for single parents in the debate over the education of children vs. those in a two-parent home.
Money really is not everything.