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How much does it cost to raise a child?

On Behalf of | Nov 12, 2020 | blog

When it comes to child support, there are many opinions about how much the non-custodial parent should pay. To help put things in perspective and to assist you as you negotiate your child support situation, it can be helpful to discover the average costs of raising a child. 

U.S. News and World Report explains that it is impossible to give a true figure for the amount it costs to raise a child because there are many variations that can raise or lower the amount. However, an average can still help to give you a rough idea of the expenses that you and the other parent will need to pay until your child is an adult. 

Estimated costs

The estimated cost to raise a child born in 2015 from birth to 18 years old for a middle-class family is about $233,610. This is a government estimate. Broken down, that equates to about $13,000 a year. It does not include expenses related to providing a college education. 


Since costs can vary, there are some things to consider in your situation. Where you live has a large impact because it will affect the overall costs of everything from food to housing. If you live in a metropolitan area, you will have higher expenses than if you live in a rural area. 

Lifestyle habits also play a role. For example, if you always take a vacation to an island every summer, then you will have higher costs to raise a child than a family that may go on a big vacation only once every five years. 

Costs also fluctuate over time depending on the age of your child. Babies require a lot more to care for them, so they will cost more than an older child. Age can also impact expenses related to food, medical needs, clothing, transportation and education expenses. 

Finally, the amount of family support you have can impact child raising costs. If your family is very involved and buys your child things, that can help to reduce your expenses. Another situation that can save money if is a family member provides free child care.