Back-to-School Economics

It will make some parents nostalgic for the days when kids walked barefoot to school and wrote with old pieces of charcoal. A study by Maritz Marketing Research finds the average two-schoolkid household will spend $787 on back-to-school necessities. Clothes (including shoes) account for $421 of this. Supplies like backpacks, gym uniforms and pens take up another $138. Extracurricular activities soak up $228 for sports equipment, musical instruments and whatnot. The start of school also means many kids will resume their role as latch-key children. How will they spend the time at home until their parents get back from work? A survey by Child examined the issue as it concerns 5-12-year-olds, of whom about 3.5 million spend some time at home alone after school. A plurality of these kids (27 percent) spend the time eating. Scruffy appearances to the contrary, 19 percent devote the time to “hygiene.” Watching TV (15 percent) is slightly more common than studying (13 percent). A useful 6 percent spend the time doing housework.