It Costs $222,360 To Raise A Child

Newborn
iStockphoto

A middle-income, two-parent family will spend $222,360, on average, to raise a baby born in 2009, according to a government estimate released today.

Yes, a number like that screams false precision. Still, some of the broad outlines that go into the estimate are pretty interesting:

  • Housing is the most expensive part of raising a kid. It accounts for 31 percent of the cost, followed by childcare and education (17 percent) and food (16 percent).
  • The annual cost rises a bit as the child gets older — from less than $12,000 per year for a baby to more than $13,000 for a teenager.
  • Among urban areas, the Northeast is the most expensive region to raise a child, and the South is the cheapest. Rural areas, which are lumped into a single category, are even cheaper.
  • The cost per child for a two-child family is 25 percent lower than the cost per child for a one-child family.

Researchers broke household income into three levels: Less than $56,670; $56,670 to $98,120; and more than $98,120.

People in the lower-income group spend 25 percent of their before-tax income on a child; those in the middle-income group spend 16 percent; and those in the higher-income group spend 12 percent. But in absolute terms, spending increases with income.

The figures are adjusted for inflation, and costs are calculated through age 17.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.