Betiyan Maa-Baap ka bojh hoti hai.
Bete (bhi) Maa-Baap ka bojh hote hai.
Basically, having kids is no small deal. It’s a major responsibility, not to mention lots of effort, energy and money goes into raising a human from less than a single fused cell to an independent “adult”.
Like everything else in India, the age-old battle of the sexes intervenes in this matter too. In olden days, parents were reluctant to spend too much on their daughters because they would eventually marry and end up in the sasural.
Such mentality still prevails in many parts of the country, so we decided to clarify some of the blinding dust on this matter.
Assuming that the parents have a reasonable level of sanity, and are capable of keeping an open mind so as to provide equal opportunities to both: a daughter and a son, here’s the average calculated sum that goes into raising the kid.
Note: The assumed models of the children are from an Indian middle-classed family living in a metro city, and excepts any unforeseeable circumstance such as an unwanted teenage pregnancy. (Note: all figures are rounded estimates for the appropriate financial status of assumed models)
Conception, Pregnancy and Birth
Making a child is free of cost, because you obviously didn’t spend on a condom.
If you don’t include the illegal costs of feticide, the general check-ups for a boy is the same as that of a girl through the 9 months. And in case you thought otherwise, the sex of the baby has NOTHING to do with the cost of the mother’s cravings or tantrums.
Also, last I checked, blue clothes were as costly as pink ones.
How much you want to pay the doctor to deliver the baby depends on you. No doctor or midwife charges extra to pull out a girl.
Average sum for the first nine months of a son: INR 10,000+30,000
Average sum for the first nine months of a daughter: INR 10,000+30,000
Just till before school starts: 1-3 years
This period is crucial; you will want to spare no expense on vaccines or foods that will keep the baby’s system safe for his/her life. Vaccination is sex-independent.
The growth rate of the child is sex-independent, so clothes change at the same rate.
The books every child should be read to, or bought for, are sex-independent.
Toys at this age are sex-independent. Mostly. Okay, the difference can be that the girl’s teether/pacifier is pink and the boy’s is blue. (Though I personally feel colour coding is dumb).
Anyway, most of the things or services in this age are sex-independent. Come on, they are toddlers!
Average sum for the 1-3 yrs of a son: INR 30,000
Average sum for the 1-3 yrs of a daughter: INR 30,000
Schooling: 3-17 years
If any school is charging more for the education of your girl, then you are at the wrong place. Grab her and run.
Once again, the total cost will depend on how fancy a school you choose for the kid, but as long as you educate them both for the same amount of years (we recommend up to 12th grade), there is no difference schools are allowed to charge.
If anything, some states of the country offer free schooling to girls! But let’s be fair here.
Average sum for the schooling of a son: INR 22,50,000(fee) + 2,00,000(books)
Average sum for the schooling of a daughter: INR 22,50,000(fee) + 2,00,000(books)
Puberty and other aspects: 11-17 years
This is where the sex-based differences come in. While we all tend to start growing hair in different places, it’s the girls who mostly end up removing it, while guys go au natural.
Also, as a girl hits puberty, her underwear changes. Training bras et al…
Add to that the monthly costs of sanitation and laundry.
Meanwhile, in the guy zone.
As boys grow older, their materialistic demands grow too (PlayStation and Bikes). Perhaps not much more than a girl’s but they do. Also, their dietary needs cause mothers very heavy trips to the grocery stores.
And if we can take the laundry expenditure of girls into account, let’s be fair to the boys. Puberty is the time when most bed-sheets need changing (Right, boys?).
Average sum for the growing son: INR 95,000(food) + 1,40,000(clothes) + 50,000(others)
Average sum for the growing daughter: INR 70,000(food) + 1,50,000(clothes) + 65,000(others)
College: 18-25 years
This is the last stage of your child’s life where you should be supporting him/her. Again, if at all a higher education institution can charge discriminated rates based on sex, it will be in favor of girls, but let’s assume equal rates.
The price of the son’s lifestyle can exceed the girl’s, because studies show that young men living independently are more susceptible to succumb to expensive addictions like drugs and alcohol, which a larger ratio of women tend to avoid. And parents are often fooled when their sons manage to mask these habits under lies.
Average sum for the college of son: INR 13,20,000 (UG+PG college) + 5,50,000 (pocket money+ miscellaneous)
Average sum for the college of daughter: INR 13,20,000 (UG+PG college) + 4,80,000 (pocket money+ miscellaneous)
Career and the Future: 20-25 years
Then comes the stage where the kid must stand on their own feet. However, the patriarchal Indian society dictates that the boys must earn more, so parents often spend a lot of money either trying to get their sons into better colleges, or set up a permanent source of income, but only for the sons.
I’ve never heard of an Indian middle-classed family investing their entire life-savings into the foundation of a business for their daughter. No! They would rather invest that money in finding her a rich husband to marry lavishly.
I guess the net cost gets balanced out. The end result being that the parents are drained of all the money they ever saved up, nothing left for selves. However, while the son gets a business (capable of running it or not), and the daughter gets a husband to be dependent upon.
At this point, does it really matter how much you spent on your child? Was it all really worth it? Did it matter who cost more? 25 years of no sleep, and you end up with nothing left for yourself, and who is to say that either of them made good value of your money?
So, should you choose to have kids at all, spend on them wisely. Actually more than money, invest time and energy into making them better people who are capable to supporting themselves and the society.
Either way, I’ll reveal the figures for the last stage:
Average sum for the career and marriage of son: INR 10,00,000 (wedding) + most of whatever money is left (setting up his livelihood)
Average sum for the career and marriage of daughter: INR 25,00,000 (or more, for wedding) + (not more than) 50,000 (setting up her livelihood)
So the total round-off figures are:
Sons: INR 57 lakhs + cost of “settling” the boy (shraddha anusar)
Daughters: INR 71.5 lakhs (includes “settlement” costs and dowry)
This difference is only due to the cost of being the “ladkiwala” in wedding. If you calculate up to the last stage, the difference is next to nil.
So which exactly is the costlier child?
If you liked this article, you may also like our ED VoxPop: Which Habit Of Your Parents Annoys You The Most?
Also, take a look at this: Gender Separation And Sexism – Co-Education In India Is An Eyewash
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.