The Most Expensive Places to Raise a Family in the United States

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An economic think tank calculates the most costly places to get by as a family of four. Find out how your locale lines up by using its family budget calculator.

It’s darn expensive for a family of four to pay the bills in Washington, D.C. Just meeting the basic family needs in our nation’s capital costs a whopping $106,493 a year, making Washington, D.C., the most expensive place in the United States to raise a family.

That’s according to data from the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank. The amount of money it takes to pay the bills for a two-parent, two-child household ranges from roughly $50,000 in Morristown, Tennessee, to that $106,493 in the District of Columbia.

It’s important to note that those figures represent the cost of merely getting by, not the cost of securing a middle-class lifestyle, which typically comes with “rainy day” funds, college savings and retirement accounts.

“This is just living, no savings,” Elise Gould, a senior economist with the EPI, explained to MarketWatch.

The EPI figures are based on the cost of housing, child care, transportation, food, health care, taxes and other necessities like school supplies and clothing.

If you guessed that New York City would top the list, you were definitely on the right track. Five of the top nine most-expensive places to raise a family in the United States are in New York state. Check out the list, based on EPI data, as reported by Marketplace:

  1. Washington, D.C., metro area: $106,493
  2. Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk County region), New York: $103,606
  3. Westchester County, New York (suburban region outside New York City): $99,592
  4. New York City: $98,722
  5. Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut:: $97,350
  6. Honolulu, Hawaii: $94,092
  7. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, New York: $92,837
  8. Ithaca, New York: $92,603
  9. San Francisco, California: $91,785

Click out “Do the Math: 4 Ways Child No. 2 Costs More Than No. 1.”

I used the EPI’s Family Budget Calculator to estimate the cost of living for two adults and two children in rural Montana. According to EPI, for a two-parent, two-child family in my area, it costs about $5,425 a month ($65,098 per year) to secure a decent, albeit modest, standard of living.

How much does it cost to raise a family in your neck of the woods? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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