According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) report on the cost of raising a child, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income ($59,200-$107,400), two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in 2015 may expect to spend $233,610 for food, shelter and other necessities to raise a child through age 17. This does not include the cost of a college education.
Where does the money go? For a middle-income family, housing accounts for 29 percent of total child-rearing costs followed by food at 18 percent and child care/education at 16 percent.
Regional variation was also observed. Families in the urban Northeast spent the most on a child, followed by families in the urban West, urban South and urban Midwest. Families in rural areas throughout the country spent the least on a child. Child-rearing expenses were 27 percent lower in rural areas than in the urban Northeast, primarily due to lower housing and child care/education expenses.
Expenses also increase as a child ages. Overall annual expenses averaged about $300 less for children from birth to 2 years old and averaged $900 more for teenagers between 15-17 years of age.
With each additional child, expenses on each declines as children can share a bedroom, a family can buy in larger, more economical quantities and clothing and toys can be handed down.