Parents in the United States are very aware of how expensive it is to raise kids today. Particularly over the past few years — with the rise of inflation and the cost of living for everything going up while average wages stay the same — families are struggling to cover their basic needs. But a new report from SmartAsset shows just how expensive it is to raise a kid in the U.S., and there are some big fluctuations depending on which metro area you live in.
To narrow down the average ongoing cost of child-rearing in each metro area, SmartAsset used data from the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which tracks the estimated living wage needed to meet basic needs in different areas of the country, with different family types, including numbers of children and working adults in the family. It takes into account eight metrics, including food, childcare, health care, housing, transportation, and other basic living needs.
Using data from the Living Wage Calculator, SmartAsset compared the living costs of a household with two adults and one child to the data from a two-adult home with no children in 381 metro areas across the U.S. to come up with their list of the most affordable and least affordable places in America.
According to the data, the average cost to raise one child in the U.S. is approximately $20,813 annually — but it can be as high as $35,000 depending on where you live.
Multiply that average cost by 18 for every year of childhood, and you’ll find that raising a kid costs a total average, estimated amount of $374,634.
The biggest expense of having a child in the United States is childcare, which accounts for close to 50% of the annual cost, on average. Childcare in the U.S. costs an average of about $9,000 per year, but it can cost more than $22,000 annually in some areas.
And, perhaps not surprisingly, only two states accounted for top five least affordable metro areas in America: California and Massachusetts.
These are the top 5 most affordable metro areas in America:
- Morristown, TN, with an average yearly cost of $14,577
- Sumter, SC, with an average yearly cost of $14,702
- Jackson, TN, with an average yearly cost of $15,246
- Gadsden, AL, with an average yearly cost of $15,261
- Longview, TX, with an average yearly cost of $15,345
These are the top 5 least affordable metro areas in America:
- San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA, with an average yearly cost of $35,647
- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA, with an average yearly cost of $33,877
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, with an average yearly cost of $33,228
- Barnstable, MA, with an average yearly cost of $33,184
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH, with an average yearly cost of $32,307
To read the full report, check out SmartAsset.