What Does it Cost to Raise a Child?

UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020

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Summer still has a solid grasp on the calendar – for 35 more days, anyway. But millions of children across the country are preparing for their return to school within the next couple of weeks. In fact, many have already started school:  two of mine started this week and the other two start next week.

The Cost of ‘Back to School’ for Parents

The US Department of Education estimates more than 55 million students will attend public and private elementary and secondary schools this fall. And that doesn’t include college students, which totaled an estimated 22 million in the fall of 2012.

Wow. That’s a lot of back to school shopping and spending. In fact, the US Census Bureau estimates that Americans spent $8.5 billion at family clothing stores and $2.0 billion at bookstores in August, 2012. Methinks we may be in the wrong business!

Education expenses make up a large portion of the total cost of raising children. And most parents will not be surprised to learn that it’s become increasingly expensive to support their little ones. A US Department of Education (USDA) annual report on the subject found that a middle-income family raising a child born in 2012 can expect to spend about $241,080 over the next 17 years! Of that $241K, a healthy 18% or $43,380 will go toward child care and education. Another 6% will go toward the clothes they will wear to school.

Cost of Raising a Child


An interactive tool developed by CNNMoney and FutureAdvisor further defines the cost of raising a child based on the child’s age, geographic location and the family’s income. You can check it out here.

How Can This Help You Determine Your Term Life Insurance Needs?

These tools can be helpful when thinking about how much term life insurance you need. Typically, your life insurance need is determined as some multiple of your annual income, with 15-20 times being a good estimate. And while this gives you a reasonable starting point, knowing the estimated costs associated with a mortgage, heath care, child care and education can get you closer to the appropriate amount of coverage for your family.

Tim Bain

Tim is a licensed life insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with term life insurance. He writes and creates stuff for QuickQuote and other insurance and financial websites. You can find him on Twitter.

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