How much does it cost to raise a child?

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As a new parent, thinking about the longer-term costs of raising a child can help you put your everyday purchases into perspective and understand why it’s important to have the right financial protection in place.

You’ve probably heard over and over how much money you could save if you stopped buying a cup of coffee every day. But have you actually thought about it? Although it might be tough to hear again, taking a longer view of your everyday financial decisions can have a huge impact on your family’s financial future.

The big number

In 2015, the USDA released a report that estimates the cost of raising a child to age 18. The comprehensive report looks at over 50 years of data to come to one large number.

You ready for it?

The average total cost of raising a child is: $233,610.1

Time to break it down

That’s a pretty big amount. Do kids really cost that much? According to the USDA, four major types of expenses help contribute to that total.

  • Housing: Whether you spend more for a place with an extra bedroom, move to an area with a good school system, or buy additional furniture, having kids means spending more on your home.
  • Clothing: From casual clothes and Halloween costumes to school uniforms and formal wear, kids needs lots of different outfits. The issue for your wallet is that they’ll keep growing out of them.
  • Healthcare: In addition to increased costs for health insurance, having a child means there’s one more person around who could get sick. Major healthcare expenses are usually rare, but costly when they occur.
  • Childcare: One of the largest new expenses for young parents is childcare. It’s important to consider all your options to find something that works for you without breaking the bank.

What’s missing?

For many families, that big number can get even bigger. There are a few key expenses not included in the estimate that you might want to consider.

  • College: According to the College Board, the cost of one year of tuition, fees, and room and board at a four-year university in 2016-17 averaged about $20,000 — and that’s for a public, in-state option!2
  • More healthcare: It’s also possible that your child will stay on your insurance past age 18, and you’ll likely be covering their health care costs during that time.
  • More children: $233,610 is the cost of raising one child.1 Thankfully, expenses average about 24% less with additional kids — after all, they can share a bedroom and use hand-me-downs!

Why does this all matter?

As a new parent, you’re taking care of your family in so many ways.

By budgeting appropriately, making positive financial decisions, and considering long-term expenses, you can see how purchase and budget decisions contribute to your family’s overall financial health.

Understanding your future financial responsibilities may help you determine the right amount of life insurance coverage you need to help financially protect your growing family.

If something were to happen to you, or another wage earner in your family, how would you cover that $233,610? How would you pay for college, additional childcare, and any current debt you may have?

Our partners at Amica Life have been helping families prepare for the unexpected for more than 50 years. Tap the button below to learn a little more about life insurance for growing families.

Learn more


1 Expenditures on Children by Families, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2017.

2 Trends in College Pricing 2016, College Board, 2016.

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