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March 2015Vol. 16, No. 2The Economic Costs of Child Maltreatment

The Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic research and analysis firm, published a report on the economic aspects and costs of child maltreatment in order to demonstrate the importance of adequate funding for efforts to prevent, investigate, and alleviate cases of maltreatment. The study analyzed data from 2014 related to national lifetime social and social welfare costs and lost earning due to nonfatal maltreatment. Data on the costs of child maltreatment by State were also examined.

The study found that child maltreatment was associated with increased costs related to health-care expenses, social welfare services, criminal justice, and education. Lifetime earnings and productivity were also reduced, and costs totaled to hundreds of thousands of dollars per victim of maltreatment. Other findings include the following:

  • Individual occurrences of first-time child maltreatment cost the national economy about $1.8 million in total expenditures, $800,000 in gross product, and $500,000 in personal income.
  • Overall increased health-care costs during childhood resulted in a loss of approximately $270.9 billion in gross product and 3,158,946 person-years of employment.
  • Overall, additional social welfare costs resulted in a loss of approximately $42.5 billion in gross product and 430,037 person-years of employment.
  • Overall, lifetime reduction in earnings resulted in a loss of approximately $2.2 trillion in gross product and 22,050,950 person-years of employment.

The report's appendices include details on the research and data-collection methods used and detailed results of the impact of maltreatment on various economic sectors. To access Suffer the Little Children: An Assessment of the Economic Cost of Child Maltreatment, visit (1 MB).