Dollars and Sense

How much can it cost to raise a family?

You’ll want to bookmark this article of common costs and possible ways to save.

By Sylvie Tremblay

Planning to start a family or have more kids? Although birth rates slowed at the start of the pandemic, new research predicts a post-COVID baby boom in the U.S.1 If you're thinking about financial planning for your family, it might be helpful to have an estimate of how much you can expect to spend.

We'll start with the sticker shock: $233,610—that's the average cost to raise a child born in 2015 through age 18.2 That amount increases, when you adjust for inflation year over year, add in multiple children, and include the cost of college tuition. In the chart below, we list average costs for a few of the most common family expenses, plus tips on how you can save money. Because every dollar counts.

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1 University of Michigan Health Lab. Researchers predict COVID baby boom.

2 USDA Expenditures on Children By Families.

3 Bankrate. Summer Childcare Survey 2021.

4 Aspen National Youth Sport Parent Survey.

5 Health Affairs. Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Maternity Care Among Women With Employer-Based Insurance, 2008–15. (Published January 2020).

6 Education Data: Average Cost of Private School.

7 Education Data: Average Cost of College & Tuition.  

8 Forbes. “What Is a 529 Plan?”


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