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Raising a child will cost more than $252,000, study finds

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Nearly every American family understands that raising children is an enormous financial commitment — but do families have a clear idea of the dollar amounts involved? A new report from by LendingTree compared data on child-related spending to the median income of families across the country, and here are the key findings from this analysis:

  • Over 18 years, total spending by two-child households came out to an average of $252,072 per child. Annually, a typical two-child family will spend $14,000 on each child on average.
  • The metro areas where families spent the most money on raising children are San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, Calif; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif; Urban Honolulu, Hawaii; Washington DC Metro, and the New York City Metro. Families here will spend between $297,000 to $330,000 per child ($16,500 – $18,500 annually).
  • The metro areas where families spent the highest portion of their incomes on children are Greensboro-High Point, N.C; Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla; Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla; El Paso, Texas and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX. Families here spend between 25%-30% of their income on raising children.
  • Housing costs represented the largest annual expense for children at $3,970 (28% of total spending). Food took up $2,480 (18%), followed by child care and education at $2,280 (16%).
  • Each additional child increased total family spending, but also reduced the amount spent per child. Households with only one child spent 27% more per child than those with two kids, while families with three children spent 24% less.

According to Chris Moon, Insurance Product Manager at, “It’s helpful to understand that the data reflects typical spending – in other words how much parents probably spend in any event — not how much they’re supposed to spend.” He adds, “Getting ahead of your spending with a budget, saving for educational expenses and emergencies, and looking into options like life insurance are ways parents can manage the daunting financial challenge of raising a child.”

According to the study, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area the median income is $69,458. The average annual spending per child is $14,102 or approximately 20% of the income. analysts obtained annual and total spending amounts on children from the USDA, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for their analysis. These figures reflect realities from 2019 – the disruptive economic effects of the coronavirus makes it harder to know how child-related spending and family incomes will be impacted in 2020. To view the full report, visit:

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