PHOENIX – For many Americans, the cost of raising a child from birth to 17 can now exceed $300,000.
In 2015, the US Department of Agriculture released a report on the costs of raising a child. The figures were adjusted for inflation two years later and a middle-income family would have expected to pay over $230,000. With the annual inflation spike since 2020, the cost has increased.
The Brookings Institution and the Wall Street Journal updated the numbers in the Department of Agriculture report to account for higher inflation. They found that a middle-income married family will now pay an average of $310,605 to raise a child born in 2015. The average cost is $18,271 per year.
The original Agriculture Department report breaks down the extra costs of raising children into seven categories. The need for additional space at home is considered the largest additional expense, so housing costs account for about a third. Food is at 18%, childcare and education at 16%, followed by transportation at 15%. Health care, miscellaneous expenses and clothing are all under 10% respectively.
Brookings and WSJ looked at annual inflation rates for all categories for a child born in 2015 and figured an increase in annual inflation from 2.2% to 4% after 2020. At birth, Brookings estimates that the cost of the child would be just under $15,000. . By the time they turn 17 in 2032, the costs have reached nearly $25,000.
First-year expenses can be daunting for a middle-income family. A separate Lending Tree study that uses 2021 dollars estimates that it would cost a two-earner family in Arizona about $18,000 in expenses for the first year. The biggest chunk that accounts for well over half of first graders’ expenses is child care. The couple will also have to shell out an additional $2,500 in insurance premiums, $2,200 in transportation and about $1,700 in food. The rent is the lowest increase expected in this case.
Brookings and WSJ figures do not include tuition. The original Department of Agriculture report estimates that high-income families will pay significantly more while those with incomes below $60,000 are expected to pay about eighty thousand dollars less.