As parents we want to give our kids everything, but with the rising costs of housing, food, clothing and education, many families are struggling to survive and there is precious little left for extras and luxuries. Statistics Canada reports that parents of young children now carry debt worth 180% of their after-tax income,
well above the already-elevated national average of 161%. John Ward, a Kansas economist estimates the all inclusive cost of raising a child to 18 in the U.S. at around $700,000, or closer to $900,000 to age 22. The calculations work out similarly in Canada, where the total cost of raising a child to 18, including lost income, forgone investment savings and the price of a college education, comes out to around $670,000. For those dreaming of two children, that’s likely to cost well over $1 million.
A new CIBC poll discovered that 33% of Canadian children aged 3 – 17 do not participate in organized sport largely due to cost. According to the poll the two major barriers to participation are enrollment fees and equipment costs. Parents, who have kids in organized sport, spend an average of nearly $1,000 per child each year. And, 82% of Canadians know a child who cannot participate in organized sport due to the cost. The importance of organized sports for our children cannot be overstated. The health benefits are enormous, particularly at a time when youth obesity is at an all time high. In addition, playing sports builds confidence, life skills, develops healthy friendships, teaches social interaction and gives kids a sense of belonging.
At a time when our government is spending an estimated $2.5 billion on the Pan Am Games coming to Toronto in 2015 (the total price, including security, transportation and the athletes’ village according to the CBC), perhaps they should be redirecting their focus and their funds on the average Canadian family who dreams of putting their children into organized sports but can’t afford it.