NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Child Rearing At $10,000 A Year

June 14, 2001

Rearing a child will cost the average American family almost $10,000 a year -- or more than $165,000 over 17 years -- concludes a new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Included in the department's report are costs for housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care, education and miscellaneous goods and services.

  • Two-parent, two-child, middle-income families spend between $8,740 and $9,860 per year, per child -- or an average of $165,630 in 17 years.
  • Lower-income families earning less than $38,000 a year average expenditures of $121,230 over 17 years.
  • Higher-income families spend double that amount -- $241,770 in 17 years.
  • Between 1960 and 2000, there has been a 13 percent increase in the real cost of raising a child from birth to age 17, the report states.

Interestingly, families tend to spend more money on older children than younger ones. That's mainly because older children eat more food, wear more expensive clothes and face higher transportation costs.

Source: Elianna Marziani, "Average Family Will Pay $165,000 to Raise a Child," Washington Times, June 14, 2001; based on Mark Lino, "Expenditures on Children by Families, 2000 Annual Report," May 2001, Miscellaneous Publication No. 1528-2000, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Browse more articles on Government Issues