How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Child?

| 5 min read Financial Assistance

It should come as no surprise to parents that raising a child in the US is expensive. In fact, according to the USDA, the average cost of raising a child to the age of 17 is $233,610. Whether you’re a family looking to cover the cost of food, daycare, or you’re a single parent seeking basic child care assistance, finding financial relief can be overwhelming. So how much does it cost to raise a child, exactly? Below, you’ll find information on the average cost to raise a child, plus ideas on how to get financial assistance

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1. Housing costs for children


Quality housing is vital to a child’s well-being, but the price of housing—especially urban housing—has dramatically increased, with home prices rising faster than income wages for the last 30 years.

How much does it cost to raise a child and keep them under a nice roof?

  • A 2018 CBS News article found that median prices for single-family homes rose 6% from the previous year. 
  • A 2019 survey by Freddie Mac revealed that 82% of renters now view renting as the more affordable option to homeownership.
  • The same survey found that 51% of Americans have made spending or housing changes to afford either their rent payments or mortgage payments. 

2. Healthcare costs for children

The question on “how much does it cost to raise a child?” is partially answered even before they are born. The healthcare costs associated with raising a child in the US start with pregnancy and childbirth, each of which can easily cost families tens of thousands of dollars, depending on complications and insurance policies. Once the baby is born, the cost of insuring that child can easily exceed hundreds of dollars per month. 

If a child should need care for acute or chronic conditions, costs are much higher. Added to these expenses are dental care, orthodontia, and other medical costs not covered by insurance. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the US birthrate has fallen to a record low.

  • The United Census Bureau provides the startling fact that in the last quarter-century, the cost of childcare has doubled.
  • A CNN article reported that the out-of-pocket expenses for health care are rising, especially for those under 18.

3. Education costs for children

One of the single biggest costs of raising a child to 18 is going to be education. Private schools in the US are far more expensive than public schools. Even though public schools don’t charge tuition, that doesn’t mean public education won’t drain your savings account. Education costs may include supplies, uniforms, exam fees, field trips, tutors, special education services, and more. 

So how much does a child cost in terms of education? Here are some statistics:

  • According to Private School Review, the national average for private school tuition is approximately $10,302 per year.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that parents spend an average of $669 per year per child on clothing, electronics, and school supplies.
  • During 2017, College Board marked average costs for public four-year colleges in most states at $36,420, while private four-year college costs averaged $46,950.

4. Miscellaneous living expenses for children

So aside from healthcare, housing, and education, how much does it cost to raise a child to 18? Planning a budget for each and every expense that comes along with raising a child can be difficult to predict. Miscellaneous expenses include clothing, transportation, personal care products, electronics, preschool, daycare, after-school and summer childcare, summer camps, extracurricular activities, and more. These expenses often increase over the course of a child’s life.

If the question “how much does it cost to raise a child per year” worries you, here are some figures:

  • According to an annual report by the US Department of Agriculture, the total cost of raising a child varies by geographic location, ranging from $230,610 in the urban South to $282,480 in the urban Northeast, where the cost is particularly high.
  • A Time article estimates that a child can add up to $14,970 to annual expenses for middle-income families before taxes.
  • Based on research data by The Pew Research Center, the number of US births has declined significantly in the past several years, possibly because having more children is too expensive for the average couple.

Offset the cost of raising a child with these resources

If you find that the cost to raise a child is becoming overwhelming, these ideas may help: 

Discounted daycare

There are plenty of nonprofits or religious organizations that offer sliding scale payment options for daycare. There are alternative payment (AP) daycare programs at select YMCAs across the country, and many other nonprofits offer similar programs. 

Crowdfunding for child-related expenses

Whether you’re trying to save for your child’s college fund or you simply need help paying for the essentials, online fundraising can be a lifeline. Crowdfunding is a free and simple way to pay for these expenses, and thousands of people have already started family fundraisers

Get help from local diaper banks

Disposable diapers can cost between $70-80 each month, according to Money Under 30. Local diaper banks can be a huge source of financial relief for new parents trying to pay for diapers every month. If you’re a new parent struggling with diaper costs, search the National Diaper Bank, which has programs across the US.

Start reducing child-related expenses today 

At the end of the day, figuring out the answer to the questionhow much does it cost to raise a child?is not enough. If you’re struggling financially, what you need is a solution that can help relieve some of the burden. Crowdfunding is one of those solutions.

Crowdfunding makes it easier than ever for families to reach out for help. People rely on GoFundMe’s free fundraising platform service to raise funds for kids and families every day. Your family’s fundraising page becomes a space where friends and family provide both financial and emotional support. If you haven’t already, start your free fundraiser on GoFundMe to help with your child costs today.

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