The Most and Least Expensive States for Raising a Family

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The most expensive state in which to raise a child has a notoriously high overall cost of living. Find out more.

Hawaii is the most expensive state in which to raise a child, according to a state-by-state analysis of child-rearing costs by GOBankingRates.

The website says Hawaii ranks at the top due to its notoriously high cost of living. It has the highest food and housing costs of any state, and the sixth-highest child care costs.

GOBankingRates’ analysis scored each state for five factors based on data from federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations:

  • Median income
  • State family leave policies
  • Food costs
  • Housing costs
  • Child care costs

Nationwide, the estimated cost of raising a child to age 18 is $245,304 — before accounting for projected inflation, according to federal data.

That’s specifically how much it would cost a middle-income family to cover 18 years of food, housing, child care, education and other child-rearing expenses for a child born in 2013. The figure can vary by more than $90,000, however, depending on where a family lives.

The 10 most expensive states for families, according to GOBankingRates’ analysis, are:

  1. Hawaii
  2. New York
  3. New Mexico
  4. Montana
  5. Alaska
  6. Nevada
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Oregon
  9. Connecticut
  10. Florida

At the other end of the spectrum, GOBankingRates determined that Tennessee is the cheapest state in which to raise a family.

The state has the second-lowest child care costs of any state — $5,857 a year, which is 63 percent of the national median cost for full-time infant care.

Food and housing are also cheap. Residents pay about $200 less per month than the national median cost for rent, and the state’s median home listing price is $30,000 below the national median.

The 10 least expensive states are:

  1. Tennessee
  2. Utah
  3. California
  4. Virginia
  5. Idaho
  6. Iowa
  7. South Dakota
  8. Missouri
  9. Nebraska
  10. New Jersey

What’s your take on the cost of raising a family these days? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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