Here’s How Much It Costs To Raise A Child Today (Not Including College!)

The latest data on how much it costs to raise a child has been published, and it’s not pretty. According to an article from Forbes, raising a child born in 2015 will cost parents, on average, a whopping $233,610. The research comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a closer look at the numbers is pretty stunning.

For middle-class parents, that $200,000+ cost of raising a child born in 2015 only goes through age 18. This means that staggering amount doesn’t even include college. Since it doesn’t take into account the cost of higher education and the fact that more kids than ever are moving home after college, it’s likely the real-life number is even higher.


That number is malleable, however. The estimate falls to $175,000 for lower-income families (those earning less than $59,200 a year), and rises to an incredible $372,210 for high-income families (those earning more than $107,400 a year). According to the report, this disparity in cost probably has to do with wealthy families using childcare and other services that lower-income families cannot afford—think tutors, private driver’s ed school, and more.

According to the report, the urban northeast has the highest costs for raising children. Rural areas of the country offer lower costs. And unfortunately for couples who might want to become parents in the future, the cost of having a child is rising steadily. From 2014 to 2015, the cost of child-raising increased by 3 percent, but it should be noted that percent increase is lower than the historic average.

If we look more closely at the graphic above, it’s obvious that housing is the biggest cost factor when it comes to raising children in middle income homes at $66,240. Until a child reaches age 18, parents will also pay at least $41,400 for food—and probably more than that if your kid is an athlete, plus twice that amount if you have a boy between age 13-19 (Kidding. But only sort of). Parents will also pay $38,040 for care and education, plus another $35,490 for transportation costs.

What this study tells us is something we already knew: Raising kids doesn’t come cheap, and it’s not going to get any cheaper anytime soon. But it also illuminates the discrepancies between families of varying incomes and how they spend on their children.

All we can say is, if family planning is in your future (or you’re already a parent), save your pennies!

About the Author

Jessica Suss

An aspiring food and health writer, native Chicagoan, and nut butter enthusiast. Jessica is also the creator of BiteMeBlog, but don't call her a foodie More.

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