Which U.S. states have the highest and lowest cost of raising a child?

SmartAsset ranks the cost of raising a child in each state by comparing the living expenses of a household with two working adults and one child to those of a childless household with two working adults.

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Boston Common Frog Pond and city skyline in summer.

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When it comes to two working parents raising one child, the median annual cost across all states is $22,850 – but the range of costs from state to state can vary and even be much higher. In fact, it costs twice as much in some states as compared with others. 

With this in mind, SmartAsset set out to find where it's most and least expensive for working parents to raise a child, ranking states by additional annual costs for the needs of a child.

Key Findings

  • Raising a child costs almost $36,000 per year in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has the highest annual costs for two working adults raising a small child at $35,841. More than half of this cost is attributed to childcare ($21,503), which is the highest of any state.
  • Raising a child up to the age of 18 costs $439,000 more in Massachusetts than Mississippi. The savings between the top 10 most expensive states and the 10 least expensive states to raise a child ranges from $180,000 to $439,000.
  • Additional housing for a child costs most in Hawaii and California. Adding a child to a two-worker household costs an additional $6,188 per year in Hawaii, and an additional $5,573 in California. 
  • Childcare costs more than $15,000 per year in these states. After Massachusetts, Hawaii ($19,592), Connecticut ($19,554), New York ($17,821), Colorado ($16,620), Minnesota ($15,722) and Washington ($15,463) have the most expensive childcare costs.
  • Raising a child costs less than $18,000 per year in three states. For working parents, raising a child is least expensive in Mississippi at $16,151 annually. It has the most affordable childcare costs at $4,725 per year. All additional necessities for a child run an estimated $17,424 per year in Arkansas, and $17,918 in Louisiana.

Most Expensive States to Raise a Child

SmartAsset

  1. Massachusetts
    • Annual cost of a child: $35,841
    • Food: $2,193
    • Childcare: $21,503
    • Medical costs: $2,347
    • Additional housing: $4,983
    • Transportation: $2,944
    • Other necessities: $1,871
  2. Hawaii
    • Annual cost of a child: $35,049
    • Food: $2,481
    • Childcare: $19,592
    • Medical costs: $1,569
    • Additional housing: $6,188
    • Transportation: $3,305
    • Other necessities: $1,915
  3. Connecticut
    • Annual cost of a child: $32,803
    • Food: $2,111
    • Childcare: $19,554
    • Medical costs: $2,060
    • Additional housing: $4,139
    • Transportation: $3,069
    • Other necessities: $1,871
  4. Colorado
    • Annual cost of a child: $30,425
    • Food: $2,035
    • Childcare: $16,620
    • Medical costs: $2,329
    • Additional housing: $4,166
    • Transportation: $2,905
    • Other necessities: $1,915
  5. New York
    • Annual cost of a child: $30,247
    • Food: $2,141
    • Childcare: $17,821
    • Medical costs: $2,442
    • Additional housing: $3,543
    • Transportation: $2,430
    • Other necessities: $1,871
  6. California
    • Annual cost a small child: $29,468
    • Food: $2,023
    • Childcare: $14,433
    • Medical costs: $2,319
    • Additional housing: $5,573
    • Transportation: $3,205
    • Other necessities: $1,915
  7. New Hampshire
    • Annual cost of a child: $27,849
    • Food: $2,031
    • Childcare: $13,461
    • Medical costs: $2,543
    • Additional housing: $4,656
    • Transportation: $3,287
    • Other necessities: $1,871
  8. Washington
    • Annual cost of a child: $27,806
    • Food: $2,109
    • Childcare: $15,463
    • Medical costs: $1,287
    • Additional housing: $4,047
    • Transportation: $2,987
    • Other necessities: $1,915
  9. Rhode Island
    • Annual cost of a child: $27,630
    • Food: $2,127
    • Childcare: $14,498
    • Medical costs: $2,486
    • Additional housing: $3,753
    • Transportation: $2,896
    • Other necessities: $1,871
  10. Minnesota
    • Annual cost of a child: $27,406
    • Food: $2,075
    • Childcare: $15,722
    • Medical costs: $1,567
    • Additional housing: $3,225
    • Transportation: $3,041
    • Other necessities: $1,777

Least Expensive States to Raise a Child

  1. Mississippi
    • Annual cost of a child: $16,151
    • Food: $1,783
    • Childcare: $4,725
    • Medical costs: $2,932
    • Additional housing: $2,026
    • Transportation: $3,259
    • Other necessities: $1,426
  2. Arkansas
    • Annual cost of a child: $17,424
    • Food: $1,735
    • Childcare: $7,337
    • Medical costs: $1,671
    • Additional housing: $2,113
    • Transportation: $3,142
    • Other necessities: $1,426
  3. Louisiana
    • Annual cost of a child: $17,918
    • Food: $1,855
    • Childcare: $7,864
    • Medical costs: $1,457
    • Additional housing: $2,239
    • Transportation: $3,076
    • Other necessities: $1,426
  4. Kentucky
    • Annual cost of a child: $18,588
    • Food: $1,704
    • Childcare: $7,715
    • Medical costs: $2,137
    • Additional housing: $2,468
    • Transportation: $3,138
    • Other necessities: $1,426
  5. Alabama
    • Annual cost of a child: $18,653
    • Food: $1,897
    • Childcare: $8,078
    • Medical costs: $1,889
    • Additional housing: $2,203
    • Transportation: $3,161
    • Other necessities: $1,426
  6. South Dakota
    • Annual cost of a child: $19,008
    • Food: $1,941
    • Childcare: $7,727
    • Medical costs: $1,795
    • Additional housing: $2,488
    • Transportation: $3,281
    • Other necessities: $1,777
  7. Kansas
    • Annual cost of a child: $19,494
    • Food: $1,900
    • Childcare: $8,706
    • Medical costs: $1,514
    • Additional housing: $2,463
    • Transportation: $3,134
    • Other necessities: $1,777
  8. Tennessee
    • Annual cost of a child: $19,525
    • Food: $1,920
    • Childcare: $8,547
    • Medical costs: $2,271
    • Additional housing: $2,249
    • Transportation: $3,110
    • Other necessities: $1,426
  9. Oklahoma
    • Annual cost of a child: $19,535
    • Food: $1,836
    • Childcare: $8,986
    • Medical costs: $1,558
    • Additional housing: $2,501
    • Transportation: $3,228
    • Other necessities: $1,426
  10. West Virginia
    • Annual cost of a child: $19,558
    • Food: $1,717
    • Childcare: $8,578
    • Medical costs: $2,583
    • Additional housing: $2,154
    • Transportation: $3,099
    • Other necessities: $1,426

Data and Methodology

SmartAsset used MIT Living Wage Calculator data to compare the living costs of a household with two working adults and one child to that of a childless household with two working adults. The data is as of February 2024. Costs include additions for food, housing, childcare, healthcare, transportation and other necessities.

This story was produced by SmartAsset and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.






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