Most Expensive States to Raise a Child

Babies born in 2012 can cost their parents up to $369,000 by the time those babies finally turn 18 years old. Maybe that's why less and less Americans are having children. Here are the 10 most expensive states (the Northeast is represented often).

Babies born in 2012 can cost their parents up to $369,000 by the time those babies finally turn 18 years old. Maybe that’s why less and less Americans are having children, with U.S. fertility rate at the lowest ever reported, according to Business Insider.

The cost of children is going up every year and it can now run parents between $169,000 and $390,000 (in 2011 dollars) to raise a child until the age of 18, BI reports. These figures only include the cost of housing, food, child care, education and transportation until the child graduates high school. Costs can shoot higher very fast when factoring in college tuition and fees.

The Northeast is a very expensive place to raise a child, BI’s list of the most expensive states to raise children revealed. Seven out of the top 10 spots went to Northeastern states, while not a single state from the South showed up.

The West had the highest yearly food costs at $1,750 per child. In the Northeast the average cost was $1,700. As for America’s heartland, it only cost $1,500 to feed a child in the Midwest.

BI calculated annual child care and housing costs were from Child Care Aware of America’s 2012 report. Food costs by region came from the Consumer Expenditure Survey Data Table and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both housing and food costs were divided by four for a family.

(Note: this list is slightly modified from BI’s in that it doesn’t include average in-state tuition and fees at a public university, thus keeping the costs approximate for raising a child until they are 18 years old.)

10. Illinois


Average yearly cost: $12,900

As part of the Midwest, the average yearly food costs are among the lowest in the country at only $1,500; however, the average yearly child care cost is $7,600.

9. California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Average yearly cost: $13,650

Child care in California is the lowest on this list at only $6,600 a year. However, not only is the average yearly cost of food most expensive in the West, but housing in Hawaii is tied for the most expensive at $5,300.

8. New Hampshire

Average yearly cost: $13,800

The cost of child care is $7,800 a year and housing is at $4,300 a year. On the original BI list, New Hampshire took the top spot because it's tuition was the most expensive.

7. Hawaii


Average yearly cost: $14,550

Child care isn’t cheap in Hawaii ($8,300 a year), but then neither is food, either, since it’s in the expensive West region.

6. Minnesota


Average yearly cost: $14,700

Housing is cheapest among the top 10 (only $3,500 a year), but if you want to pay for child care, then you’ll be looking at the second largest bill. The average yearly cost for child care is $9,700.

5. New Jersey

Boardwalk in Seaside Heights

Average yearly cost: $14,900

Housing in the Garden State is awfully expensive, tying with California for the most expensive at $5,300.

4. Connecticut

Fairfield County

Average yearly cost: $15,000

Connecticut is fairly expensive across the board with yearly child care costs at $8,600 and housing at $4,700.

3. Rhode Island


Average yearly cost: $15,100

Child care is among the most expensive, costing $9,200 a year on average. Plus, housing is $4,200 on average.

2. Massachusetts

Beacon Hill, Boston

Average yearly cost: $15,800

The average cost for housing for the year is tied for the second-most expensive at $4,700, plus child care is the third-most expensive at $9,400 a year on average.

1. New York

New York City at night

Average yearly cost: $17,200

Although housing is fairly average for the top 10 at only $4,500 a year, parents will spend the most money by far paying for child care in New York. The average yearly cost for child care is a whopping $11,000.