It is a question that is often posed at a Bris Milah, Bar Mitzvah, and or weddings.

What is the more economical child for a religious Jewish family to have — a boy or a girl? At the hospital itself there is, of course, no difference.  However, aside from the Shalom Zachar, the Bris Milah is the first disparity — The cost of a Mohel runs from $500 to $1000.

A dairy Bris Milah of approximately 200 people at 18 dollars a plate is $3600.  Add another $400 for the hall and the boy is costing you an average of $4750.  We will add another $250 for the Shalom Zachar, bringing it to an even $5000. But wait.  Of late there is the custom of sponsoring a Kiddush in shul in honor of the birth of the baby girl.  That runs on average about $800 to $900.

The score thus far? At Four Weeks:          Girls $850 versus Boys $5000.

But the Bris does get you some savings in terms of baby clothing.  If half of the attendees bring a gift, the utility value of these gifts in terms of saving money can save about $1000 on average.

The new score? Girls $850  versus Boys $5000 – $1000 = $4000

We move on, however.  About  1 out of 10 boys also have a Pidyon HaBen.  The average cost?  $3600 for the food, $400 for the hall, and the Kohen is another $250.  Since only ten percent of boys have a Pidyon HaBen we will only add $425.  The new score $850 versus $4425. Girls schools tuitions are about $500 per year cheaper than those of boys Yeshivos.  So until seventh grade, girls save another $3500.

The new score is now $850 versus $7925.

In terms of clothing, girls are a bit more expensive per year than boys.  They need more outfits, more shoes, and jewelry.  We will put this differential at about $800 per year.  So until seventh grade we have to add another $5600.

New score?  Girls $6450 Boys $7925

And now comes the Bar Mitzvah costs.  Tefillin is $1500, a hat $200 for Shabbos and $150 for the weekday.  A Bar Mitzvah suit $200 (after tailoring).  And then comes the cost of the meals;  $40 per person with an average of 200 people plus the cost of the hall – $500.  Oh, yes, and the Bar Mitzvah lessons as well.  This is another $2000. Thus our Bar Mitzvah total is about $10,500, but the cost of Shabbos is another $3000.  So we add $13,500.

The new score? Girls $6450 Boys $21,375

And now, we move on to high school.  We assume that the higher tuition cost of the boy’s Yeshiva high school education over and above that of a girl’s high school education will be offset by the increased costs in teen age girl fashion requirements.   This carries us through four years of high school.  And now comes the first year after high school — Seminary. The costs of a seminary education over that of first year Beis Midrash are about $13,000 more.  Yes, that is true.  So the girls are now at $19,450 while the boys are at $21,375, which seems that the difference may be just under two thousand dollars.

But this is not quite that accurate. Why?  Let’s not forget the time value of money.  We saved all that money during the four years of high school.  $13,000 saved four years earlier at an interest rate of, say, 6 percent is worth $10,300.  So the girl’s real expense compared to the boy’s is now $16,750 versus the boy’s $21,375. And now we get to marriage.  Assuming the girl covers the wedding and the boy covers the FLOPs, the girls cost is an extra $30,000.  The boys costs are flowers – $2000, Liquor $3,000, orchestra $4000, Photographer and video $3500.  But let’s also assume that the boy must buy a bracelet $1600, a ring – $4000, the leichter $1000, and the Sheitels $3000.

All this totals $22,100 when everything is said and done. So the new score is girls $46,750 versus boys $44,475, a difference of $2,175.  Girls cost more, it would seem.

But wait – we are not done, actually.  Why?  Because the girl gets married on average 2 years younger than the boy does.  So we have to pay the food and clothing allowance of the boy for two years longer than we have to do for the girl.  This cost, on average is about $4000 per year.   Tacking this price onto the cost of boys our final figure is girls $46,750 and boys $52,475.

The shocking conclusion?  It costs $5725 dollars less to raise a girl than it does to raise a boy.


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