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How much does it cost to raise a child to adulthood in the United States?

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According to 2017 data, it would cost more than $230,000 to raise a child to the age of 18; for 2021 figures, inflation in recent years must be taken into account

One fact is irrefutable: children are not cheap. It is difficult to determine in a generic way how much it costs to have a child in the United States. There are estimates from public and private entities that may vary depending on the factors they consider. Meanwhile, the federal government has calculated that a child can cost around $230,000 during his lifetime until he reaches adulthood, and without counting college expenses.

The US Department of Agriculture The USDA used to publish a report every year calculating the average cost of raising a child to adulthood at age 18, excluding college expenses, until it was left unaddressed since 2017. Based on In that latest report, the cost of raising a child born in 2015 was $233,610 for a middle-income married couple. This figure, adjusted for inflation, would increase this value to $267,233 by 2021, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Likewise, the USDA found in 2015 that single-parent households, that is, those that are only supported by one of the two parents, spent an average of $172,200 dollars, more than $60,000 dollars less than their married peers. When inflation is applied, this amount increases to $196,984.

For the last year in which these calculations were made, the USDA used data from the annual consumer spending survey. The cost of raising a child varies by region, with the Northeast being the most expensive place to do so.

In the 2015 USDA study, the average spend was broken down into percentages of:

• Housing: 29%
• Food: 18%
• Child care and education: 16%
• Transportation: 15%
• Health care: 9%
• Miscellaneous: 7%
• Clothing: 6%

Based on the USDA estimate, the annual cost of raising a child is about $14,846 in 2021 for a middle-class, two-parent household.

But contrary to what the government says, a private study obtained other results. In 2019, LendEDU, an online marketplace for financial products, surveyed 1,000 parents who had a child between the ages of 1 and 3. They looked specifically at how much a baby costs and found that parents spent an average of $13,186 during the first year, even though the average cost was only $6,000.

Depending on the region where you live is the cost of your child. The nonprofit Economic Policy Institute used data from 2017 to determine how much families across the county need to spend to maintain a modest and adequate standard of living.

For example, in the Los Angeles, California metropolitan area, adding a child to a two-adult household could be expected to increase annual costs by $24,236. Even in the Kansas City metro area, where the cost of living is significantly lower, one child could be expected to add $17,869 to the family budget.


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