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How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Child?

Mother reading with her daughter at home and thinking about how much does it cost to raise a kid

People often say that nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent. That is true in a lot of ways, but there's one area of parenthood you can prepare for — the cost.

What's the Average Cost to Raise a Child?

So, how much does it cost to raise a kid?

Cost of Raising a Child

The average cost of raising a child in a middle-income household is $292,017 over 18 years1.

As a new parent, you can expect to pay for everything from labor and delivery to childcare expenses, housing, utilities and more. As parents, we also make countless choices about what's best for our children, and these decisions can also affect your family budget.

When it comes to the cost of raising a child, here's a breakdown of what you can potentially expect.

What's the Average Cost of Labor & Delivery?

If you plan on growing your family, it's important to be financially prepared before you even give birth. If you don't have insurance to help cover these services, the out-of-pocket costs can be really high.

Cost of Delivery Births

Families are charged $14,768 on average for a vaginal delivery and $26,280 on average for a C-section2.

But if you do have health insurance, it's still important to read the fine print of your health insurance policy to understand the percentage your insurance will cover and how much will be your financial responsibility. Once you have a better idea of these costs, you can likely make more informed decisions about things like your birth plan and where to seek care.

How Much Does Childcare Cost?

The cost of childcare can vary depending on whether you decide to employ a nanny, go to an in-home daycare or go to a daycare center.

Childcare Costs Vary by State

Costs also vary depending on where you live, ranging from $5,436 in Mississippi to $24,243 in DC3.

Consider doing some research on childcare options in your area once you and your partner decide you want to have kids, so you know what kind of childcare you can afford and how to budget for it. You may really want a full-time nanny, but if the costs will force you to drastically cut back on other expenses, it may make sense to explore other options.

What's the Average Cost of Healthcare?

Health care costs have also steadily increased in the last 10 years, according to the Milliman Medical Index.

Average Annual Health Care Costs

Milliman reported that the average yearly health care cost for a family of four was $30,260 in 2022.

If you have an employer-sponsored health plan, you might be able to choose between different tiers of insurance. It may be hard to determine your family's future health care needs right now, but kids get sick all the time and have several important doctor's appointments during their first two years. Consider evaluating your health plan options to see which tier of coverage provides the services you need for as affordable a price as possible.

What's the Cost of Transportation, Housing-Related Expenses & Food?

A middle-income family with two kids can expect to spend an average of $214 a month per child on transportation (gas, insurance, vehicle maintenance, etc.) and an average of $415 a month per child on housing-related expenses1.

Annual Costs to Feed a Child

Food costs range from $155 to $213 per month for a one-year-old child4.

But these numbers are national averages. If you live in an area with a high cost of living, it might cost even more. You may want to sit down with your partner to look at your household expenses now and — using these averages — what they could be in the future. That will help give you a better idea of what you'll pay each month to run your household and how to structure your family's budget.

How Much Does a Child's Education Cost?

The cost of a child's education varies depending on several factors such as the type of education, the location, and the age of the child.

Average Cost of Tuition

The average cost of tuition and fees for undergraduate students in the US was $10,560 in the 2020-2021 academic year5.

For private institutions, the average cost was $37,650. However, this does not include other expenses such as room and board, textbooks, and transportation. The cost of private K-12 schools can also vary widely, with some schools charging tens of thousands of dollars per year.

Additionally, the cost of childcare and early childhood education can also add up, with the average cost of full-time daycare ranging from $9,000 to $21,000 per year depending on the location6. It's important to note that these costs can be significantly impacted by scholarships, financial aid, and tax credits.

These costs aside, whether you choose public or private school, you may want to think of your child's education as an investment that can set them up for future success.

Preparing for the Cost of Parenthood

Affording all of the basic necessities may seem daunting, but you can help ease these concerns by putting a financial plan in place to set your family up for long-term success.

While this plan doesn't have to be super formal, understanding your current expenses, income, and future savings goals and priorities can help. This might involve some conversations with your partner about home versus hospital birth, public versus private school, and more. These talks may challenge you, but being able to make these choices together could help you prepare for the path ahead.

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1 Mint: "How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Child?" (https://mint.intuit.com/blog/planning/how-much-does-it-cost-to-raise-a-child/)

2 Forbes: "The Average Cost of Childbirth" (https://www.forbes.com/advisor/health-insurance/average-childbirth-cost/)

3 World Population Review: "Child Care Costs by State" (https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/child-care-costs-by-state)

4 USDA: "Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food" (https://fns-prod.azureedge.us/sites/default/files/media/file/CostofFoodFeb2023LowModLib.pdf)

5 College Board: "Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid" (https://research.collegeboard.org/trends/college-pricing)

6 Child Care Aware of America: "The US and the High Cost of Child Care: 2021" (https://www.childcareaware.org/catalyzing-growth-using-data-to-change-child-care/#ChildCareAffordability)

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Information provided is general and educational in nature, and all products or services discussed may not be provided by Western & Southern Financial Group or its member companies (“the Company”). The information is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal or tax advice. The Company does not provide legal or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. The Company makes no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use. The Company disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information. Consult an attorney or tax advisor regarding your specific legal or tax situation.