South Korea tops the list of most expensive places to raise a child from birth to age 18, measured as a percentage of per capita gross domestic product, according to research from Jefferies(JEF)which used data from Yuwa Population Research. GDP is the broadest measure of a nation’s economic activity.
China comes in second, followed by Italy. The United States is wedged in the middle of the top 14 most expensive places, between Germany and Japan.
However, in terms of the absolute amount of money spent, China is one of the cheapest places to have kids. But it’s all relative: “If we then adjust that data to percentage of average disposable income, China becomes the most expensive place to raise kids,” said the Jefferies researchers.
A big part of it is the cost of education and the cost and availability of care when the child is in their younger years. Pre-school services in China have been mostly private until recently, according to Jefferies.