It turns out that your little bundle of joy is going to cost you a big bundle of cash.

That’s according to a recently released U.S. Department of Agriculture report calculating the average cost of raising a child born in 2012. Accounting for food, shelter, schooling and other basic necessities, the report estimates that from birth to age 18, a kid will rack up a total bill of about $241,080, or just shy of $13,400 per year. When adjusted for inflation, that total translates to more like $302,000, or about $16,800 per year. And no, that does not include college.

It now costs about 23 percent more to raise a kid than it did in 1960 (adjusting for inflation), according to the report. It also notes that rearing costs, not surprisingly, vary by geographical region: the urban Northeast is most expensive (a whopping $271,170), followed by the urban West at $256,710. And nationwide, rural areas are the cheapest regions to raise kids, largely because of the housing cost differential.

Explore this USDA infographic for more details, and check out the interactive chart below it, which breaks down the average cost into individual expenses. If, after that, you’re still considering parenthood, take a look at the USDA’s interactive cost calculator for a customized estimate.



  • A1rh3ad

    Seems like these estimations are exaggerated just a tad bit, and by tad I mean a whopping load. I know people with far less money who are adequately raising multiple children without any government assistance or anything. What gives?


Matthew Green

Matthew Green runs KQED’s News Education Project, an online resource for educators and the general public to help explain the news. The project lives at kqed.org/lowdown.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor