Undeniably, a child is a blessing to any family. But beyond the unconditional love, we find some couples fail to really consider the financial cost of that little person from birth to graduation and beyond. With recent research revealing surprising statistics, many couples may be in for a little “sticker shock.”
According to a recent report provided by the Department of Agriculture, A middle-class married couple with two children can actually expect to spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars – $233,610 to be exact – raising a child who was born in 2015. And that figure only includes costs from birth through 17 years of age, so it doesn’t even factor in college tuition and expenses.
Breaking it down just a little further, a family can expect to shell out anywhere between $12,350 and $14,000 a year to raise a child. And again these factors only figure in the expenses needed for a child in typical health. Additional health concerns would require an extra investment in medical costs and care.
So where does all that money go? There are a few big ticket items that seem to consume the biggest chunk of the budget.
According to the study, housing was the most significant expense for most middle-class families. On average housing costs take up 29 percent of the total cost for raising a child. The majority of that cost is derived from needing an extra bedroom from the child.
Not surprising, food is the second biggest portion of the budget. Most families can anticipate spending anywhere from $35,000 to $45,000 on food for a child.
Most new parents anticipate the need for childcare in the budget, but they may not realize it is the third largest portion of costs for raising a child. According to the government, childcare, which includes daycare, babysitting, etc., will cost a family an average of $37,378.
Although there is the seemingly incessant need for more diapers, kids actually tend to less expensive the younger they are. Childcare and educations costs may be higher for kids under six; however, those investments typically dissipate as your child ages and enters school fulltime.
On the other hand, costs for transportation, food, health care, and clothing all continue to rise as a child gets older. Case in point, parents of teens can anticipate handing over the most money for food, with the annual average cost of food for 15 to 17-year-old being around $2,800. This number alone is 22 percent higher than the cost to feed a child age 6 to 8.
While children are expensive no matter how you slice it, income level and location of the family also play a role in the costs of childrearing. For example, it is estimated that lower-income families spend an average of $174,690 on raising their children, while high-income homes will shell out roughly $372,210 over a child’s life.
Region also impacts the overall costs of raising kids. Urban areas in the Northeast tend to have the highest bill for raising children, coming in at $253,770, which is followed closely by the urban West at $235,140. It likely goes without saying but families living in rural locations throughout the country pay the least with an average of $193,020. It is also important to note that families in the urban Northeast spend the most on housing, childcare, and education.
Another interesting statistic that couples may appreciate is that having multiple children actually decreases the cost of each child. In fact, married couples who have three or more kids actually spend 24 percent less on each child compared to even those with two children.
While it is pretty apparent that children are in fact expensive to raise, there are some good news. According to these findings, the growth of the costs of childrearing has actually slowed. In fact compared to the previous year, childcare costs only rose 3 percent of $380, which is significantly lower than the 4.3 percent average that it has been since 1960.