Skip to main content

That child you're about to have is going to cost you more than $200K

Housing, feeding, educating and clothing a baby costs a whole heap of cash.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

If you're planning on embarking on the wonderful (exhausting) and fulfilling (all-consuming) journey of raising children anytime soon, give this a read first.

It's no secret that having children comes at a financial cost, well the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has updated exactly how much that cost is – $233,610.

That's the amount the average middle-income, married American family can expect to spend on child-rearing expenses for babies born in 2015 until they're 17 – footing an annual bill of between $12,350 and $13,900.

Lower-income families will spend less, around $175,000 over the first 17 years, while upper earners can expect to dish out $372,210 during that period.

Those are the national figures though. In the Midwest it's a little cheaper, costing urban middle-income families $217,020 on average, and rural middle earners $193,020.

What costs so much?


Housing is the most significant cost associated with children, accounting for around 29 percent of the total. And while having a child doesn't necessarily mean you buy a new house, the USDA study takes into account the cost of an additional bedroom when tabulating these figures.

As well as the bedroom, the study takes into account mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance, home furnishings and equipment, and the use of utilities associated with having an extra person in the home.

It's worth noting that the more children families have, the proportionally cheaper they get, as younger children are able to share bedrooms and re-use clothing and toys.


Food, unsurprisingly, is next, as children refuse to join their parents in a meal of steamed fish and broccoli and instead demand chicken nuggets and fries. Food expenses account for about 18 percent of the cost of having children.

Around 17 to 25 percent of the household food budget in a two-child family is spent on their food, which also includes the extra cost of eating out.

The USDA is pointing people to this resource, which helps families follow a nutritious meal plan while sticking to a budget.

Childcare and education

Childcare and education is the next biggest expense at around 16 percent of the total. This particularly affected those in higher earning groups, and is one area in which some families don't have any expenses at all – like those lucky enough to have their parents nearby to babysit.

In Minnesota, the cost of childcare for infants can range from $137 a week for in-home daycare to $207 a week for a daycare center in outstate Minnesota, while in the Twin Cities it ranges from $182 to $324, according to Child Aware MN.

Other major expenses involved with having a child include transportation, health care and clothing costs, the report found.

Next Up

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Man dies after being shot during argument in Minneapolis

It's the 70th homicide in Minneapolis this year.


Minneapolis police, city employees clear out Near North encampment

This comes as colder weather moves through the state.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.32.46 PM

New T.J. Maxx to open in the Twin Cities this month

Opening day will kick off with extended hours.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 3.04.24 PM

Former Hennepin County commissioner arrested for DWI

The 61-year-old was being held in Hennepin County Jail as of Thursday morning.

Evie Carshare

Electric carshare network showing growth in Twin Cities

Over 25,000 trips have been logged in a six-month span.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 1.11.01 PM

Popular Apple Valley ice arena could be replaced

A concept plan to transform the ice arena is being considered.


Low river levels bring cancellations for St. Paul-New Orleans Viking cruises

The low water also impacted some barge traffic making its way down the river.

10.6 Tempest Weather Thumbnail

Drought tightens grip as Twin Cities reaches 'extreme' level

By this time last year, drought was fading fast in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 11.23.49 AM

Woman missing since car crash has been found

The 49-year-old is believed to have been driving when the crash happened.

COVID-19 vaccine testing Mall of America

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, Oct. 4

The 7-day average number of cases has been dropping.


Here's why it now costs more than $1,000 to rent a Twin Cities apartment

Landlords looking to capitalize on wealthier tenants have contributed to rising rental prices in the Twin Cities.

The price of happiness: Average MN wedding costs more than $25K

If you're planning on popping the question anytime soon, better get saving.

The Tip Jar: Cheaper ways to make your home more valuable before you sell

Think twice before that $50,000 kitchen remodel, there are most cost-effective ways to boost your home's value.

The Tip Jar: Is Amazon Prime cheaper than Walmart for groceries?

Amazon recently reduced the cost of a Prime membership for low-income Americans – which some say is a strategy to steal customers from Walmart.

Hey millennials – you're really good at saving for surprise bills

The fear of getting into credit card debt is encouraging more millennials to save.

The Tip Jar: How to have a cheap staycation in Minnesota

Don't want to stray too far or spend too much this summer? The Tip Jar has you covered.