How Much Does It Really Cost to Raise a Kid?

Just how expensive is it to raise a child? The answer is shocking!

Everyone knows that it's expensive to raise a child.

But just how expensive is it?

How much money does the average American need from the time of birth to when he or she turns 18?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, parents can expect to spend an average of $233,610 to raise a child.

If you’re a to-be parent and that number already has your head spinning, we have some bad news. You should probably bump the estimate up.

The data is from a 2017 report and is based on children born in 2015. The cost of raising a child has steadily increased (see infographic below), and it will most likely have ticked up again between then and now.

Plus, it assumes a two-parent, middle-income household. Depending on where you live, how much you make, and whether you’re a single parent or raising a kid with your partner, your situation could look very different.

So how much will it cost you to raise a kid? There are several resources you can take advantage of to help you tailor information to your specific situation, and hopefully gain a more accurate picture of how much you need to set aside.

Budgeting Tools

Along with the report, the USDA has a calculator to help you estimate the costs of raising children.

Using this tool, you can estimate costs based on where you live, your income, and the ages of your children. It will then tell you average costs for housing, food, transportation, etc. It also shows how your situation compares to the national average.

BabyCenter has a calculator that is specific to estimating and tracking costs for your newborn.

Worried about college costs? Vanguard’s calculator won’t cover tuition but will give you an idea of what it could be. All you need to do is enter how many years until they’ll enroll, and how long they’ll spend in college. Then, based the average rate of inflation in college costs it will tell you the average cost of a 4-year, state school.

Looking for something that takes into account other factors? Use this tool from


Banking apps can be a valuable tool for managing your finances, or you can turn to a budgeting specif tool like these from Mint, Quicken. Or, if you are an excel wizard, set up your own system in a spreadsheet.

Child Costs 1960 vs 2009

Over the years, the cost of child care and education has changed enormously (especially college!).

These are nearly eight times more than they were back then.

But, parents these days are paying less for food and clothing.

Costs of raising a child

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