What Is the Average Cost of Raising a Child?

What Is the Average Cost of Raising a Child?

Children are the greatest blessing to anyone’s life. Newborns especially are a true joy to have around. Unfortunately in this day and age, you pretty much need to be loaded to raise a child properly.

As with most “average cost” questions, there are multiple answers. Because of differences between cost of living in different states and differences between childrens’ need (medical problems, etc) the ‘average cost’ of raising a child can be different from one family to the next.

Average Cost of Raising a Child

The most recent data available on the subject, put out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, suggests that in 2004 (these kinds of polls take time to put together, so 2004 is the most recent number available) families who make at least $70,000 a year or more will spend an average of $269,520 to raise a single child from birth through to adulthood at age 18.

Naturally, families with incomes lower than this will spend smaller amounts. Wondering what the highest child rearing cost in the country is? Apparently, wealthy families in urban areas in California pay the most — on average about $284,000.

About those lower-income families — how much does it cost them to raise children? Apparently, a family’s income may not be as big a factor as it seems in the cost of child rearing — families who take in less than $70,000 are spending a whopping $184,00 to raise a child from infancy to adulthood.

Think of this number as about $15,000 a year from birth to age two. Once a child gets older, the expenses associated with your child will shoot through the roof. As your child ages, he or she gets even more expensive, topping out at $15,810 from ages 15 to 17. This survey is deadly accurate too, as it involves a wide sample (8,000 families from across the country) every four years or so.

Problems With This Study

While this study is the most accurate we have, there are some issues. For starters, the study doesn’t consider certain off the wall expenses incurred by families with special needs — hefty medical bills, private schooling, and other sundry items that just don’t fall within the scope of this study.

Don’t forget also that this study is made up of a composite average — this means your actual cost will be no where near the ‘average’ reported, and will come in way above the reported number. The final problem with this study is that it stops at 18, which means most college expenses (rising every year) are not taken into account. Parents could easily add tens of thousands of dollars to this cost just by putting a child through school.

This article answers the question “What Is the Average Cost of Raising a Child?”, and it’s part of a series of articles about average costs. The other articles in this series include: