It’s no secret that raising a child can be expensive. From childcare, housing, food, and other associated costs, the expenses can rise quickly.
Depending on where you live, being a parent can be even more expensive.
Using data from MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, the personal finance website SmartAsset found that nationally, raising a child costs roughly $20,800 annually. That cost includes childcare (which, on average, will set you back more than $9,000), food and housing, healthcare, transportation, and other necessities.
SmartAsset reviewed 381 U.S. metro areas to determine how much it could cost for a two-adult household to raise a child in 2023.
Unsurprisingly, many of the most expensive cities were in California, specifically in and around the Bay Area.
Topping out the list was the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley area, where SmartAsset found the annual cost of raising a child is more than $35,600. The high costs of food and housing in the area ultimately pushed the metro to the top of the list.
Close behind was another NorCal metro, Santa Cruz-Watsonville. Though the overall annual cost of raising a child was lower than San Francisco’s at $33,877, Santa Cruz’s housing expenses exceeded $12,600, well over its fellow California city’s $10,499.
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara rounded out the top three at $33,228. Housing costs in the area were around $8,600, according to SmartAsset’s analysis, thousands of dollars cheaper than the previous California metros, but San Jose’s high childcare costs — nearly $15,800 — kept it in the top three.
It wasn’t a California metro topping out the list for the most expensive childcare costs. Instead, it was Ann Arbor, Michigan, where childcare costs surpassed $22,000 a year, SmartAsset reports. Another Michigan metro, Kalamazoo-Portage, had the second-highest childcare costs at more than $19,800, followed by Barnstable Town, Massachusetts at just over $18,000.
In all but one of the 10 most expensive cities — Santa Rosa-Petaluma, California — raising a child will cost more than $30,000 a year.
Here are the 10 most expensive cities, according to SmartAsset. You can view the full analysis here.
- San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA: $35,647
- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA: $33,877
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $33,228
- Barnstable Town, MA: $33,184
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH: $32,307
- Ann Arbor, MI: $31,670
- Trenton-Princeton, NJ: $31,314
- Kalamazoo-Portage, MI: $30,786
- Napa, CA: $30,412
- Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA: $29,544
As SmartAsset notes, these costs are for a two-adult household that adds just one child.
Metros on the other end of the list were scattered across southern states.
The cheapest metro reviewed by SmartAsset was Morristown, Tennessee, where the annual cost to raise a child is about $14,600. Childcare costs are below $5,000, while food and housing costs are below $2,000.
Sumter, South Carolina, the second most affordable metro, had the lowest childcare costs at just over $4,800.
Rounding out the 10 cheapest metros were Jackson, Tennessee; Gadsden and Dothan, Alabama; Longview, Texas; Columbia, Florence, Hilton Head Island-Bluffton, and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the location for Santa Cruz-Watsonville.