How Much Does It Cost to Raise Children?

The US Department of Agriculture has published its 2009 report Expenditures on Children by Families. This report breaks down the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 according to categories such as: husband-wife or single parent families; income level; number and age of children; geographical region; and other factors. Since the study began in 1960 parenting has become more expensive with child expenditures increasing by 22% in real terms. Overall, middle-income, married parents with two children spent between $11,650 and $13,530 annually to raise a child. Child-related housing expenses, including the cost of providing an extra bedroom, constituted the largest child-related expense across income levels. This was followed by child care and education costs for high and middle income families (when applicable). For low-income families, food costs represented the second largest expenditure. Regionally, families located in the northeast spend the most on child-related expenditures while those in rural and southern areas spend the least. Finally, single parents spend approximately 7% less on their children than husband wife pairs, although this represents a larger share of their total income. So what does it cost to raise a child from birth to age 17? Well, for those families that welcomed a second child in 2009, families in the low income group can anticipate spending $205,960 to raise the child; the middle income group will spend approximately $286,050 to accomplish this task; and the high income group will spend about $475,680 on the child until he or she reaches 17.US Dept of Agriculture vs MN Child Support Calculator.

I’ve attached a sample comparison that I ran on the US Department of Agriculture Calculator and I ran the same on the MN Child Support Calculator. My assumptions were: 2 children, one age 9 and another age 5. Total family income: $76,895, with each parent earning 1/2 of that amount. The results are interesting because the US Department of Agriculture calculator result was $23,590 per year or $1,965 per month vs. the MN Child Support calculator result: $643 per month (plus $68 for the Obligor’s half of medical insurance premium) or $7,716 per year. Of course, MN uses a cost sharing calculation, so the person receiving child support is supposed to be providing part of the support also. But even if I double the child support amount, the number doesn’t reach the amount provided by the US Department of Agriculture estimate.

1 Comment

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One response to “How Much Does It Cost to Raise Children?

  1. Pingback: $235,000, That’s The Cost to Raise a Child to Age 17 (Not Counting College!) | Always Family Center

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