Business, Economics and Jobs

American kids getting higher allowances than ever, finds AICPA study


US retail sales rose in nearly every category in March boosting hopes of a speedier-than-expected recovery.


Chris Hondros

American kids are getting heftier allowances than ever, a telephone survey conducted by the American Institute of CPA's discovered this month.

The AICPA reports that 61 percent of US parents give their children an allowance. And of those kids who get a allowance, the average amount is $65 a month—$780 a year, and $15.00 a week.

That's a substantial amount of money, but the study also found that only 1 percent of parents polled reported that their kids actually saved any of the funds. Now we know who's buying all that glitter lip-gloss. (Although their parents don't do much better in the USA—28 percent of Americans have no emergency savings). 

The study also found that parents who gave their children generous allowances also were more likely to pay out-of-pocket for other discretionary, non-essential items for their kids. Kids also get paid for good grades (a technique which some recent studies show works).

Read more: What experts say about allowances for children (interesting figures from 2000)

Parents expected their kids to do some form of work in exchange for the funds, found the AICPA: 89 percent expected their child to work at least an hour a week. 

These allowance numbers are on the rise, according to figures from A survey conducted in 1993 by Yankelovich Clancy Shulman for Youth Monitor found the average weekly allowance for kids between age 14 and 15 back then was $9.68. 

Read more from GlobalPost: 28 percent of Americans have no emergency savings: Bankrate survey

That works out to around $42 a month for kids between 14 and 15 in 1993, or a 54.7 percent increase as compared to today's $65 a month. That's a lot. 

A 2000 study by Nickelodeon/Yankelovich Youth Monitor found kids between 12 and 17 received an average of $16.60 a week—which is actually a bit more than the AICPA reported.

However, as I don't have the AICPA figures divided by age group, it's very likely the 2012 average is brought down by younger children, who generally receive much less money. (This GlobalPost reporter is currently pursuing more data). 

Could this be part of a cultural sea-change in parents expectations for providing financial help for their kids, even into adulthood—prompted by the economic crisis and rising student debt?

Could be: the AICPA also found that 47 percent of the parents polled expected to support their child financially in some way until after they turned 22.