It takes an average of 46,400 yen per month to raise a child, or 16.1 percent of a household’s total living expenses, according to a survey by an organization affiliated with the Cabinet Office.

The survey by the Institute for Research on Household Economics found that the ratio of child-rearing costs to total living expenses increases depending on the number of children in a family.

In a household with one child, costs average 26,500 yen per month, or 10 percent of a family’s budget. But where there are two or three children, such expenses amount to 50,800 yen and 61,400 yen, or 17.9 percent and 19.8 percent, according to the survey.

The costs rise as children grow. When the eldest child is 3 years old or younger, average monthly costs reach 23,600 yen, or 10.5 percent of a household’s budget. The expenses balloon to 65,100 yen, or 20.3 percent, when the eldest child is a junior high school student.

An institute official said child-rearing costs have become “heavy burdens on households” and the high costs of raising children are one factor contributing to Japan’s declining birthrate, together with a lack of cooperation on the part of husbands and tiny living space.

The survey found that the satisfaction level for consumption declines in reverse proportion to the ratio of child-care costs to total household budget.

Among women without a child, 46 percent said they are satisfied with their consumption. But among those shouldering child-care costs of more than 20 percent of their total living expenses, only 30.5 percent said they are satisfied.

The survey, conducted in October 2003, covered 1,364 married women across Japan aged 24 to 44.

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