WASHINGTON — Lending Tree published a study of the 10 most expensive states to raise a child in the United States and Washington made the list.
The data comes from several sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The study was based on a married, two-income couple, with one child, and the projected expenses for 18 years of support.
Washington ranked ninth among the most expensive states to raise a child with an annual cost of $22,679, being about $15,000 of that expenses for infant daycare. Washington D.C. is the most expensive state in the U.S. to raise a child -- ranking No.1 with a cost of $28,785.
The report said the average essential cost to raise a child in the U.S. increased more than 25% from 2014 to 2019. The cost of raising a child in 2014 was about $16,000 compared to about $20,000 in 2019.
The cost goes up in every state as the child gets older. The study estimates raising a child from birth to age 18 in Washington cost more than $215,000 annually.
According to the report, researchers took in account basic expenses such as housing, food, day care, clothing, using girls’ clothing which tends to be more expensive, transportation, and health insurance. The total annual expenses in the study were based on a two-income household with a girl younger than 5, and subtracted the tax credit or exemption for one child. The study didn’t take into account expenses for sports teams, summer camps, birthday parties and extra expenses.
While raising a child may be expensive for low-income families living in states like Washington D.C, Hawaii, and Maryland, where the cost of infant day care exceeds $14,000 annually, there are other states where annual day care could cost as low as $6,000. The most affordable states to raise a child in the U.S. are Mississippi with an annual cost of about $13,600 and Alabama with expenses below $15,000.
Parents or future parents may find it easier to support their children in states with higher incomes and lower local prices. LendingTree researchers advise parents or future parents to plan before having a child, use credit and loans the best way they could to avoid late fees or overcharged credit cards and consider buying second hand items to save extra cash, the study said.