For all the joys and wonder that come with raising a child, it can also be very expensive.
If you’re curious about just how much of a toll it can take on your wallet, here are the most up-to-date estimates of how much it costs to raise a child in the United States in 2023, based on data from the United States Department of Agriculture.
The Total Cost of Raising a Child
The estimated cost of raising one child in 2023 is $15,512.52–$17,459.43 per year.
This number is based on a report called Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015 . They found that middle-class families with a married couple and two kids spent about $12,350 and $13,900 every year for each child.
With an inflation rate of 25.6% from 2015 to 2023, this means that the average cost of raising a child in the United States in 2023 is about $15,512.52–$17,459.43 per year.
It’s also estimated that, for a child born in 2015, it will cost $233,610 to raise them through the age of 17.
This number is an average, but it might be different for you depending on your family. For example, it might be more or less depending on how much money your family makes, the number of children in your family, and how old your children are.
Another important thing to know is that where you live in the United States can change how expensive it is to raise a child. For example, the same report found that the cost of raising a child was the lowest in cities in the Midwest and rural areas far from busy cities. In fact, it’s almost 27% cheaper to raise a child in rural areas than in cities in the Northeast United States.
A Breakdown of Child-Raising Costs
So where is all that money going? Here’s a full breakdown of what people are spending that money on to raise their kids:
- Total costs: $15,512.52–$17,459.43
- Housing: 29%, or $4,498.63–$5,063.23
- Food: 18%, or $2,792.25–$3,142.62
- Transportation expenses: 15%, or $2,326.88–$2,618.91
- Healthcare: 9%, or $1,396.13–$1,571.34
- Education: 16%, or $2,482.00–$2,793.51
- Other: 7%, or 1,085.88–$1,222.16
Note: this breakdown is based on families with children between the ages of 0–17 years old. It’s also based on data on middle-income married families with two children It does not include college costs.
About 29% of the costs of raising a child goes toward housing. This category includes housing payments like rent or mortgage and property taxes. It also includes other bills, furniture, and other housing-related items.
Again, this cost can change based on where you live in the United States. A family in a city spends an average of $3,900 per child in housing costs every year. In rural areas outside of cities, housing only costs about $2,400 per child every year. In addition, in some cities and towns, the housing costs can be very different from one neighborhood to another.
Food purchases make up about 18% of the total cost of raising a child. This category includes all food-related purchases including grocery trips, meals out at restaurants, and school meals.
It’s also important to note that this cost can change depending on your child’s age. Because they need more nutrition as they grow older, you might need to spend more money on your teenager or pre-teen than you did when they were younger. For example, a child between 0–2 years old costs about $1,580 to feed, while a teenager between 15–17 years old will cost about $2,790.
Transportation expenses make up 15% of the total cost of raising a child.
These payments include the cost of maintaining and driving a vehicle like gas money, vehicle financing and interest payments, vehicle registration, maintenance repairs, and car insurance. It may also include public transportation (bus and train fare, etc.).
You can expect to spend about 9% of your budget on healthcare costs.
The exact amount you spend on healthcare depends on what kind of health insurance you have. However, this category includes out-of-pocket expenses like medical bills that aren’t covered by your insurance. It also includes the cost of health insurance that is not covered by your job.
Education is one of the biggest categories that families with children spend their money on. It can make up up to 16% of the total cost of raising a child. This includes school-related costs like books, school fees, and school supplies. It might also include tuition if your child goes to a private school instead of a public one. This category also includes childcare costs like babysitters and/or daycare.
Again, this cost is only based on the amount of money families spend through high school. It doesn’t include college tuition costs, which can be another expensive cost. According to US News, the average tuition per year in universities for the 2022-2023 school year was:
- $39,723 for private schools
- $22,953 for out-of-state students in public schools (ie: when a student is attending a college in a state where they are not a permanent resident)
- $10,423 for in-state students in public schools
Finally, the miscellaneous/other category includes a variety of expenses that don’t fit into the other categories. This includes things like personal care items, entertainment, lessons, and hobby costs. This makes up about 7% of the total expense of raising a child.
What to do if you need Financial Assistance for Child Care in Illinois
Childcare can be very expensive, and the costs can add up quickly over time. So if you find that you’re in need of help, there are several options out there for financial assistance for your family.
Some options that are available in the state of California include:
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) - This government program (formerly known as “Food Stamps”) helps families with low income buy food and groceries. Each month, qualifying families receive an Illinois Link card which they can use like a debit card to buy food and groceries from participating grocery stores.
- TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families - This program gives temporary money aid to pregnant women and families with kids who need help paying for things like food, rent, and electricity. It also offers support to help families become financially independent.
- LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) - The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program gives qualifying families money that can be used to manage energy costs. For example, this money can be used for home energy bills, energy crises, and certain home repairs.
Raising a child is one of the most rewarding things you can do, but it also costs a pretty penny. Learning how much it costs can help you know what to expect and give you ideas for managing your budget. Finally, knowing where to turn if you need help can give your family the resources it needs to thrive.