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The price of parenthood: How much it costs to raise a kid in the US

For many expecting parents, one question looms large above all else: how much does it cost to have a baby? While it’s far more exciting to set savings goals for the nursery or for all the new clothes the baby will need, it’s important to think about the cost of parenthood.

Right now, the price tag of parenthood in the United States is close to $200,000, according to the United Way – and it could be even higher for LGBTQ+ parents. And that doesn’t even include the cost of college! Given that cost, you can see why parents plan so far ahead for child-raising expenses. Let’s break down the price one life stage at a time so you can start building your budget as you look ahead to parenthood.

Pregnancy and birth: LGBTQ+ family planning is often an incredibly costly affair; the price of surrogacy, adoption, IVF and/or IUI vary wildly depending on your state, insurance plan, and type of family planning method. It’s difficult to estimate this cost because of all the variables, but it can easily cost somewhere in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Once the baby arrives, you’ll need to know how much leave and any co-parent you have will receive from your jobs. Some employers offer paid time off for new parents, while others will allow you to use sick or vacation time. If you work for a company with 50 or more employees, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

Raising a child: Once your child has joined your family, the fun ­– and work – begins! Parenting is an incredibly rewarding journey for many, but there are also a lot of costs involved that are important to be mindful of as you begin building new budgeting and saving goals!

Housing: Almost a third of the cost of raising a child is housing, although if you live in an area with a high cost of living, this number could be higher. Sure, you might already pay more than you have to in rent in order to have a beautiful view or enough square footage for you and your partner, but you might decide to upsize again once the baby comes or buy a house so your child has room to run and play.

Education and child care: Childcare makes up nearly 20 percent of the cost of raising a child, and that’s not even for full-time, year-round care! According to the USDA, these expenses don’t just include daycare; babysitting, elementary, middle, and high school tuition, books, fees, and supplies also come into play here. If you choose to enroll your child in private school, these costs could be even higher.

Food: Kids are notorious for not finishing their meals, but the price of that meal remains the same – and since about 15 percent of the total cost of raising a child is wrapped up in food costs, maybe think twice about taking your kiddo out to that restaurant if you know they won’t end up with a clean plate.

Transportation: For many families, automobile expenses like car loans or payments, gas, maintenance and repairs, and insurance premiums are essential. Even if you live in an area with accessible public transit, factor in the costs of transportation like taxis or rideshare for when the busses aren’t running or there’s an emergency.

Healthcare: From emergency room runs to braces or other dental work, these costs can be hefty – and what about if your child needs gender-affirming surgery or care later on in their growing-up years?

Other expenses: From video games and computers to haircuts and new clothes, there are all those little things that make up everyday life for kids. Keeping those expenses in mind when making your new-parenthood budget is just as important as the serious side of things.

Preparing for parenthood

The process of having a child requires a lot of preparation, but you can start getting ahead of the game now. For LGBTQ+ people interested in family planning, Daylight Grow is launching a resource center full of fertility funding information that can help take away some of the costs of family building via grants and financial aid locators.

Many people also financially plan far out in advance of having a child to be able to absorb unexpected costs. Daylight’s banking app gives you the ability to set certain savings goals for yourself – and celebrates you when you’ve put enough away to buy your child their first bike or set of braces

At Daylight Grow, we believe the world needs more queer parents – and we help make that happen. Whether you know you want to start or add to your family through surrogacy or you’re still exploring your options, Daylight Grow is here to help through our family planning concierge, resource center, and community dedicated to supporting queer parents as they navigate the family-building process. Learn more and join today!