It's no surprise that children aren't cheap, but their full price is a bit daunting. According to the USDA, the average cost of raising a child to adulthood is a stunning $226,920 -- and, as Bundle.com recently noted, the actual price could be a lot more, depending on where you live. For example, raising a kid in New York City, the most expensive place on its list, costs almost twice the average.
On the flip side, bringing up baby in Madison, Wis., could be a lot easier -- child rearing in Wisconsin's capital costs less than half the national average. What's more, according to a 2009 Men's Health study, it was the second-best place in the country to raise a family.
We've culled Bundle's list to compile the seven most expensive child-rearing cities in the country, and cross checked it with that Men's Health research to see if you're really getting what you're paying for. Surprisingly, these aren't necessarily the most expensive cities when it comes to cost of living, suggesting that a lot of the high price of child rearing comes from discretionary costs. In other words, when it comes to bringing up baby, the hardest part may be keeping up with the Joneses.
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The most expensive city in America to live in is also the most expensive place to raise a child. In fact, according to Bundle, bringing up a kid in the city costs 90% more than the national average.
Diapers and onesies are more expensive in New York than anywhere else, but the standard necessities aren't the only thing driving up costs in the Big Apple. The city also has a stunningly pricey childcare and education industry. For example, the median tuition at New York's top 41 top private schools is almost $37,000 a year, and several charge more than Harvard University.
(As a side note, Bundle ranked Manhattan specifically first, and named Brooklyn as the second-most expensive city to raise a child. That's a distinction we rejected. Since 1898, Brooklyn has been part of New York City, not an independent city. Don't tell the Brooklynites.)
Given its position as the seventh most expensive U.S. city, it's a bit of a shock to see Miami coming in second when it comes to raising kids. According to Bundle, however, bringing up a kid in the Florida city costs 58% more than the national average. Even worse, Miami parents apparently aren't getting what they pay for: According to a 2009 Men's Health study, out of 100 cities, Miami ranked 99th as a good place to raise a family, landing it a hair above worst-choice Detroit.
Apparently baby showshoes are expensive: Bundle notes that raising a child runs over $330,000 in the City of Lakes, a price tag that is 46% higher than average. On the bright side, it appears to be a much better deal than Miami when it comes to quality of life: According to Men's Health, Minneapolis is the 18th best city to raise a family.
Given that it is often ranked as one of America's most liveable cities, it shouldn't be that much of a surprise that Tulsa attracts many parents -- and that it is one of the most expensive places to raise a child. According to Bundle, child-rearing in Tulsa costs 35% higher than the national average.
But that Men's Health research gave Tulsa a fairly dismal ranking -- 60th place out of 100 -- when it comes to raising kids, so buyer beware.
It's only the 11th most expensive city in America, but it probably isn't surprising that Dallas comes in higher as an expensive place to raise a kid. As anyone who grew up watching the Ewings might surmise, Dallasites have a reputation for living large. Unfortunately, according to Men's Health, high prices don't necessarily translate into a high quality of life: It ranks Dallas as No. 80 out of the 100 best cities in which to raise a child.
Atlanta is also one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. -- and, not surprisingly, one of the most expensive places to raise a child. But at least with a No. 42 ranking on the Men's Health's list, it may be a reasonably good deal.
The second most expensive city in the U.S. is only the seventh most expensive place to raise a child. Even so, according to Men's Health, it's not that great a deal -- the magazine ranked L.A. 68th when it comes to the best places to raise a family.