When the time comes for you to make the transition from the single life to the family one, there are many variables to consider when you decide where to raise your children. Things such as education options, weather, and more recently, price. With the way the economy is shaping up, expenses rise while income remains stationary, and the cost of raising a child has now become a large factor in whether or not couples decide to have children at all. There are many things that factor into the cost of raising a child, such as food, education and child care. What you may not realize is that these factors, along with several others, can either increase or decrease depending upon which state you decide to raise your family in.
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The cost of raising children has been determined by averaging the yearly costs of full-time child care, yearly housing costs, the average in-state tuition and fees at a public university, and the average yearly food costs by region. Housing costs include anything that can be considered shelter, utilities and furnishings. Food costs are assessed by taking the average food cost per household and dividing it by four (the average number of members per household).
Currently, New Hampshire is assessed as the most expensive state in which to raise children. New Hampshire's average in-state tuition cost for a four-year program comes in at a whopping $14,576 - the highest of any state on the list. In fact, the University of New Hampshire, the state's only public university, has the highest tuition rates in the nation. New Hampshire also ranks in the top 20 for both child care costs (based on full-time care for a four-year old in a child care center) and housing costs.
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In what should come as no surprise to anyone, the Garden State comes takes second place on the list. Offering the convenience and opportunities of New York without actually living in New York and providing close proximity to beaches and other states, New Jersey has often been considered an ideal location to raise a family while furthering a career. But that high convenience comes at a price that can easily be seen when raising a child. New Jersey is similar to New Hampshire in that the costs for child care and food are expensive, but it is the housing costs that really account for earning New Jersey the number two spot on the list. New Jersey has a yearly average housing cost of $5,300 per child.
Massachusetts comes in at third on the list. The heart of New England ranks so highly because it has the highest childcare costs of any state in the top five. Costing nearly $10,000 annually per child, Massachusetts has a top-five ranking for infants, toddlers and adolescents. The annual costs for the other categories closely mirror what has been seen in the other states on our list.
Rhode Island takes the fourth spot, facing many of the same pitfalls as New Jersey. The close proximity to both New York City and beaches makes it an ideal place to raise a family, but along with that will come high costs. A total annual cost of $25,949 is good for the fourth highest in the nation, but what is unique about Rhode Island is that no category comes with an exceptionally high ranking; rather the costs are spread out somewhat evenly across all of them. Rhode Island ranks in the top 15 for tuition costs, childcare costs and housing costs.
Rounding out the list, Vermont comes in at number five. Barely missing out on taking the fourth spot, Vermont's annual cost of raising a child comes in at $25,707. Vermont has the highest food costs of any state in the top five with an annual cost of $1,750 per child, unlike the other states on our list which all shared similar average food costs.
The Bottom Line
While the list may appear biased toward the northeastern region of the U.S., this does not mean that those raising families in the western regions are paying substantially less for their children. States such as California, Illinois, Minnesota and Hawaii are among the top 15 most expensive states. Nowadays simply wanting to have a child may not be enough, as you will also have to consider how much you can afford to spend and where you can afford to spend it.
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- New Hampshire