Child maltreatment incurs a high lifetime cost per victim and creates a substantial US population economic burden. This study aimed to use the most recent data and recommended methods to update previous (2008) estimates of 1) the per-victim lifetime cost, and 2) the annual US population economic burden of child maltreatment. Three ways to update the previous estimates were identified: 1) apply value per statistical life methodology to value child maltreatment mortality, 2) apply monetized quality-adjusted life years methodology to value child maltreatment morbidity, and 3) apply updated estimates of the exposed population. As with the previous estimates, the updated estimates used the societal cost perspective and lifetime horizon, but also accounted for victim and community intangible costs. Updated methods increased the estimated nonfatal child maltreatment per-victim lifetime cost from $210,012 (2010 USD) to $830,928 (2015 USD) and increased the fatal per-victim cost from $1.3 to $16.6 million. The estimated US population economic burden of child maltreatment based on 2015 substantiated incident cases (482,000 nonfatal and 1670 fatal victims) was $428 billion, representing lifetime costs incurred annually. Using estimated incidence of investigated annual incident cases (2,368,000 nonfatal and 1670 fatal victims), the estimated economic burden was $2 trillion. Accounting for victim and community intangible costs increased the estimated cost of child maltreatment considerably compared to previous estimates. The economic burden of child maltreatment is substantial and might off-set the cost of evidence-based interventions that reduce child maltreatment incidence.
Keywords: Child maltreatment; Economic burden; Lifelong consequences.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.