The average cost to raise a child in the US from the age of 17 years old is $233610. This figure is based on data compiled in the most recent Expenditures on Children by Families report completed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The estimated cost of raising children is based on a couple who has two children and earns a median income. According to the report, a single-child household can expect to spend 27% more than a two-child family. This puts parents under greater pressure to ensure their children are raised from birth to adulthood with a steady income.
What is the cost of raising a child?
Many parents underestimate the costs of having a child, and then fail to realize the cost of raising it until they turn 18 or go to college. Although having a baby is a worthwhile investment, the $233,610 cost to raise a child from their teens can be quite expensive.
It is crucial to be financially and mentally prepared to have and raise children. You can prepare by cutting down on costs, such as:
- Set a budget and stick to it.
- Compare insurance quotes (health, car and home, life, etc.). To ensure you get the best deal, compare prices.
- To avoid financial ruin, purchase life insurance
Insurance is one of the largest expenses that you will have to pay in your children’s lives. Insurance is an obvious consideration. You may also want to research qualified experts to help you choose the right health insurance for your family. When your children turn 18, car insurance is an option. Insuring a young driver or teen can be very costly–adding your 16-year-old to your car insurance policy runs an average of $2,531 per year–but there are some affordable options available.
Life insurance is another insurance option to consider when you have children. If you’re young and healthy, you may be able to purchase life insurance at a reasonable price. If one parent dies, it can have a devastating financial and emotional impact on the whole family. If you’re a stay-at home parent or rely on income, life insurance could be a great way to protect your family’s lifestyle.
Major costs of raising a child
Although there are many costs associated with raising a child to 18 years old, only a handful of major expenses cover the cost. These expenses include housing, food and childcare as well as insurance, education, transportation, and insurance.
Housing is undoubtedly the largest expense in raising a child. According to the USDA report, housing costs account for 29% of overall costs of raising a child. Housing costs vary depending on where you live and what type of housing is chosen. Many parents envision a suburban home with enough bedrooms and a white picket fence for their entire family.
Based on a $250K dwelling coverage amount, the average cost of home insurance is $1,312 per year, according to 2021 Quadrant Information Services data. You will need to factor in maintenance, utilities, and mortgage costs when determining the cost of buying a home.
At 18%, the cost of food is second highest. Over time, food prices have trended up, with food-at-home pricing increasing 1.2% and food-away-from-home pricing increasing by 2.4% from 2020 to 2021. The USDA anticipates rising costs in 2021 with increases of as high as 2.5% or 3.5% respectively
Food expenses rise even more to eat healthy food, such as high-quality meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables. All food categories will see an increase in prices by 2021.
- Meats: +1.5%-2.5%
- Fresh fruits and veggies +2%-3%
- Eggs +0.5%-1.5%
According to the USDA report childcare and education are the third most expensive expenses for raising children. These costs are most high for children under six years old, and can be attributed to the daycare costs. Between 12-14 years old, education and childcare costs are at their lowest.
The highest childcare costs are in the urban Northeast, West, and South, with 27% less than the rural Midwest. Rural areas are the most affordable for childcare and housing in all areas of the country.
Other expenses associated with raising a child
Housing, food and childcare are the most expensive categories for raising a child up to the age of 18, but they are not all that important. When calculating the cost of having a child, it is important to consider these categories.
Transportation costs account for roughly 15% of the cost of raising a child and are highest when the child is aged 15-17, especially once your child gets their driver’s license and has to be figured into the cost of car insurance. Between 9% and 6%, health care and clothing accounts for the total cost of raising children up to age 18.
Family life insurance is essential, especially if you cannot replace your income in the event of an unexpected. Each parent should purchase adequate life insurance to replace their income, even if they are a stay-at home parent. A recent survey completed by Salary.com estimates the annual salary of a stay-at-home parent at $174,00 per year. In addition, life insurance is typically the least expensive when you are young and healthy, especially if you choose term instead of permanent life insurance.
College tuition costs
Currently, the average cost of full-time undergraduate tuition ranges from $18,550 to $54,880. Parents who choose to pay for college can take advantage of savings plans like the 529 plan. You can start saving early for your child’s post-highschool education by leveraging time.
The bottom line
From infancy to 18 years old, the cost of raising a child is approximately a quarter million dollars. Parents can prepare mentally and implement financial planning strategies to be able to have a child and raise them to adulthood. If one or both of your parents dies unexpectedly, life insurance can help to ensure that your family has a comfortable lifestyle. Parents considering having children should set a budget and shop around for life insurance.
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