How much does it cost to raise a child in 2024? Things for prospective parents to consider.

Two women sitting on the floor of their home. One is wearing their baby in a baby carrier while the other leans in to nuzzle the baby's head.Image: Two women sitting on the floor of their home. One is wearing their baby in a baby carrier while the other leans in to nuzzle the baby's head.

In a Nutshell

A middle-income married couple with two children can expect to pay roughly $306,924 to raise a child born in 2023.
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We know that raising kids is expensive — but just how expensive is it?

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study published in 2017, the average cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 was $233,610 for a middle-income married couple with two children. This estimate was based on a family of four and excludes any college costs.

Taking into account the effects of inflation, that same couple can now expect to spend roughly $306,924 to raise a child born in November 2023.

A similar study in 2022 by the Brookings Institution,  which used the USDA estimate as a baseline, found that parents could expect to spend $310,605 raising a child born in 2015 through age 17. The study adjusted for higher future inflation.

While these figures may sound overwhelming, we’ve broken down eight major expenses for prospective parents to consider and provided some tips on how to prepare mentally and financially for your child’s future.


Costs of raising a child in 2024

Housing, food and childcare make up the largest percentage of children’s expenses. As children grow, you can expect to pay for things including hobbies, sports teams. When adjusting USDA estimates for inflation, parents can expect to pay between $16,227 and $18,262 a year raising a child born in 2023.

Here’s what you can expect to pay to raise your child.

Housing

Housing is the most expensive cost associated with raising a child, making up 29% of the total expenses. Based on the USDA’s annual cost estimates, you’re looking at about $5,235 going toward housing alone each year.

Where you choose to raise your family will impact the overall amount you spend on housing each year. Size of home, cost of living, school districts and location will all influence your expenses, and our Home Affordability Calculator can help you determine how much you can afford. You’ll also need to consider the cost of homeowners insurance, mortgage payments, maintenance and utilities.

Average cost: Making up 29% of the total costs, parents pay $5,235 on average toward housing each year.

Food

Food costs make up the second-largest expense to raise a child, at 18%. There are many factors that can influence this expense — choosing to eat more healthfully, purchasing formula for babies, your child’s age, eating at home versus eating out and more — but on average, you can expect to pay around $3,249 each year on food.

If you’re wondering how much you should spend on groceries and how to set a monthly budget, check out our budget calculator to help keep you on track.

Average cost: Making up 18% of the total costs, parents pay $3,249 on average toward food each year.

Childcare and education

With the cost of living going up each year, parents are having to make tough decisions to cover expenses. Coming in at 16% of the overall costs to raise a child, parents can expect to pay at around $2,888 a year on childcare and education.

However, this yearly average cost does not include the expenses associated with your child attending college. College Board found that for the 2023–24 academic year, full-time undergraduate students paid $11,260 on average for in-state tuition and fees at a four-year public university and $29,150 on average for out-of-state tuition.

Saving for college does not have to be intimidating. By starting a college fund early or involving your children in the process as they age, you can help to eliminate the need for loans and avoid some of the student debt associated with getting a college education. 

Average cost: Making up 16% of the total costs, parents pay $2,888 on average toward childcare and education each year, not including college education costs.

Transportation

Transportation costs make up 15% of children’s expenses, and parents can expect to pay around $2,708 on average each year. The bigger your family, the larger the vehicle you might need — affecting car payments, auto insurance and vehicle maintenance expenses.

As your child ages and becomes a teenage driver, the transportation costs increase — and may include driving school, driver’s license and permit fees, additional vehicles, car insurance and added gas expenses.

Average cost: Making up 15% of the total costs, $2,708 is paid on average toward transportation each year.

Healthcare

Healthcare accounts for 9% of child-rearing expenses, including the out-of-pocket costs of premiums and deductibles paid throughout the years of raising a child. Parents can expect to pay about $1,624 each year on healthcare.

This does not take into account the expenses associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care, which average a total of $18,865, according to a 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation study.

Budgeting for a baby can feel overwhelming, but know that you’re not alone. Our guide to budgeting can help set you and your child up for success and ensure you’re financially ready for a baby.

Average cost: Making up 9% of the total costs, parents pay $1,624 on average toward child healthcare each year.

Clothing & miscellaneous

Clothing and miscellaneous expenses like entertainment, toys and haircuts account for 6% and 7% of total costs, respectively. So, parents can plan on spending at least $2,347 total each year. Again, these costs will vary based on location, the need for warmer clothing or the amount of money you’re willing to spend on extra luxuries like specialty electronics or family vacations.

Average cost: Making up 6% and 7% of the total costs, parents pay $2,347 on average toward clothing and miscellaneous expenses each year.


Start saving for your child’s future

Raising children can get overwhelming when you start to add up the costs.

Now that you have an idea of how much you can expect to spend to raise a child, you may want to look at your finances and create a budget. You may also want to consider starting a 529 college savings plan to ease the stress of college expenses.

Sourcing