How Expensive Are Kids…Really?

Thinking of growing your family someday? Already have some adorable impressionable little minds running around and making catching up with your besties totally impossible? 


Well, it’s no surprise that it is expensive to have a kid. And it’s really expensive to have two kids. Three!? Yeah, you probably don’t even want to see the numbers. But speaking of numbers, that’s what this piece is about. The nuts and bolts of how much it will really cost to raise a kid.


According to CNN Money, the cost of raising a child skyrocketed from 2000 to 2010. The estimated cost for a middle class family to raise a child was $165,630 in 2000, and increased to over $225,000 in 2010. If you google how much it costs to raise a child you get alarmingly titled articles like USA Today’s Raising a child costs $233,610. Are you financially prepared to be a parent? And this price tag doesn’t factor in college.


Location, Location, Location

There are many factors at play here, one of the biggest being geography. Some parts of the country are just more expensive to raise a kid. In 2014 Gothamist published an article titled It Could Cost You $500K To Raise A Child In NYC. If you click on over to that piece, take a look at the url, you’ll see whoever created it used the address “condoms_4life, which is probably how you’ll feel if you’re even remotely considering raising kids in a major US city. Half a million dollars, and that doesn’t include college or private school tuition.

Well, it’s no surprise that it is expensive to have a kid. And it’s really expensive to have two kids. Three!? Yeah, you probably don’t even want to see the numbers.

The United States Department of Agriculture has created a Cost of Raising a Child Calculator. (Note: It’s based on 2013 data, so may be a bit out of date, but is a good jumping-off point.)


You type in your region, the number of children you have, and your income and it spits out an estimated cost. According to this handy equation, a two-parent household of H.E.N.R.Y.s™ with a combined household income of over $107,400 living in the Northeastern United States can expect to spend $27,445 on their first child. Yes, almost $30k on your first kid.


But let’s say you don’t make quite that much yet, you’re still an aspiring H.E.N.R.Y.™, and you live in a more rural area and make between $60k and $100k a year, you can expect to spend $13,183 on your first kid. At least you could in 2013, which is when this data was compiled. If you’re into this sort of thing, click on over to the calculator and play around with it, but be warned, it’s scope is limited and it basically tells you that kids are pricey AF.


Our team knows parents in NYC paying $700/week to send their 4 year olds to summer school (and that doesn’t even cover lunch). Preschool in NYC can be upwards of $20k/year. And kindergarten can cost almost $50k/year if you go private, which may sound indulgent to those of you outside of NYC, but getting your kindergartener into a public school in your neighborhood can be challenging and the internet is full of primers on how to get your 5 year old into the best possible school in “11 easy steps.”


Cost of Popping out a Baby

According to Business Insider, the average cost of a delivery without complications in the US is $10,808. This cost varies widely by state, and doesn’t factor in C-Sections. The cheapest state to have a baby in the US is Alabama, with an average vaginal birth costing around $5k with insurance and $9k without. (C-Section averages are around $7.5k and $12.5k)


New York, New Jersey, and Alaska take home the honors of most expensive. Though perhaps not in the order you would expect. Alaska comes in at most expensive with New Jersey and New York closely following. The average cost of a vaginal birth without insurance in Alaska is almost $20k, and that goes up to almost $30k for a C-Section without insurance.

It Could Cost You $500K To Raise A Child In NYC.

As we were researching this piece we heard from several mothers in various parts of the country. One has three kids that she gave birth to in Montana, with insurance. All cost her between $3k and $7k, depending on if she was induced and/or got an epidural. (And yes, some mothers tough it out without the meds to save costs.)


This means some women are also opting for home births or birthing centers to avoid the cost of a hospital stay. Beyond saving on costs, home births can also be incredibly transformative, challenging, and beautiful. If it’s a route you’re considering, check out the story of one of our awe-inspiring clients, Amanda (who happens to be a Doula, herself) and the story of her three day, 70 hour unmedicated home birth.  

Maybe you’re planning on a midwife or doula instead. There are doulas factored into quite a few Stash Plans®. According to What to Expect, a doula can cost between $800 and $2,500, and average around $1,200. And many people add a doula on top of their other birthing plans, so remember to factor that in as you plan.


Also, let’s talk about fertility for a second. It’s not always as easy as a few glasses of wine and going off birth control to make a human. Especially if you’re a woman who wants to wait to have kids. The reality is that you may need to some help conceiving when the time comes for various reasons. According to popular pregnancy blog The Bump, IVF can cost you anywhere from $5K/month to over $100k by the time the baby gets made. And IVF isn’t just for straight couples dealing with infertility. It is relied on by many LGBTQ+ families, and will be a necessary part of anyone’s plan if they intend to use a surrogate.


And let’s say you can’t or don’t want to carry a pregnancy. How much is adoption these days? According to Adoption Network (and our friends who have adopted) it is actually often the more expensive route. Agency fees for adoption generally range from $15,000 to $30,000, and they aren’t the only costs involved. Adopting a child is a truly amazing thing to do, and it can also be really pricey.


What about College?

We know how expensive college is. Most of us are still dealing with our loans, even if it is part of our Stash Plan® to pay them off in a timely manner. But how much will it cost to help your bundle of joy through their formative academic years? According to projections by USNews based on inflation and historical data, it could cost over $40k/year to send your kid to a public school by 2030, putting the price tag for four years at over $200k.


So if you live in New York, plan on helping your kid through college, and dream of adding two little ones to your brood, you could be looking at a price tag of around $2.5 million if you opt for public schools. And if you’re a Stash Wealth H.E.N.R.Y.™ that hopes to add your child’s college tuition into your financial planning, we generally recommend that you save between $1000 and $1400 a month, starting the month your child is born. (We could probably use this stat as birth control, TBH.)


We promise this blog wasn’t intended as birth control, though we don’t blame you if you’re double checking you took your pill today and/or restocking those condoms. We just want you to be as informed as possible on what the realistic costs of raising a child in the 21st century are. And if you’re thinking of trying to save enough for a comfortable retirement, you’ve got to make sure you are well informed about how much having a kid will affect your ability to save.

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