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SCHOOL’S OUT… NOW WHAT?

The Cost to Keep America's Kids Busy this Summer is $16.6 Billion


NEW YORK, NY, June 27, 2012 – As the last school bells ring, the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker finds families will ring up $601 per child on average to keep kids busy with summer activities like camp and summer classes. The majority of American families with summer activities planned for their children (76%) say this cost is similar to or has increased since 2011. Among affluent families the average per-child spend nearly doubles to $1,116.

Approximately 28 million families in the U.S. (with children under the age of 18) expect to shell out hundreds of dollars on kids' activities this summer. This equates to a total of at least $16.6 billion dollars to keep American kids entertained, exercised and educated during the summer months.

"Between sleep-away camps, swim clubs, and sports that ramp up between June and September, summer expenses can add up," says Claire Bennett, EVP Loyalty & Membership Benefits, American Express. "The six and-a-half hours now free each weekday requires special seasonal purchases--and some thoughtful planning—in order to keep kids engaged between the school years."

What's On the Kids Summer Expense Reports?

From day trips to sports practice and finding ways to keep growing brains sharp, there's no shortage of activities to keep kids from claiming boredom this summer. The top five activities and anticipated average dollar spend, per child, include:
  1. Day Trips (i.e. Theme Parks) – 63%: Avg Cost/Child is $208 ($341 for Affluents)
  2. Sports Participation – 34%: Avg Cost/Child is $180 ($262 for Affluents)
  3. Educational Activities – 26%: Avg Cost/Child is $139 ($204 for Affluents)
  4. Pool and Club Memberships – 24%: Avg Cost/Child is $121 ($246 for Affluents)
  5. Day Camps – 21%: Avg Cost/Child is $219 ($433 for Affluents)
Parents also plan to spend a significant amount on babysitting/childcare, averaging $433 per child ($642 for Affluents) as well as Sleep Away camps (avg $252 by general population and $457 for Affluents).

With summer underway, the kids don't have to have all the fun. American Express Cardmembers with Membership Rewards earn points for virtually every dollar they spend on their card, and can earn bonus points by referring a friend for a card. Cardmembers can redeem the points for their own summer fun, like shopping, entertainment and even put them towards a trip (without the kids!).

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2008 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as two sub-groups—Affluents and Families. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between June 5 and 8, 2012. Overall the results have a margin of error of ± 2.2 (or ± 3.9 among Affluents and ± 3.2 for families) percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.

Affluents are defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000.

Families are defined as having children (under 18) in household

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at www.americanexpress.com and connect with us on www.facebook.com/americanexpress, www.twitter.com/americanexpress and www.youtube.com/americanexpress.