PROTravis Prebble / Flickr

A new tool compares housing, food, child care, and other household costs in 618 American metros.

If you have kids, you already know that the cute little humans come with a host of unavoidable costs—especially if you live in a big city. A new tool developed by the Economic Policy Institute adds up these expenses for metro areas across the U.S. and calculates how much a family (up to two adults and eight children) would need to get by in each place.

A quick dive into the data reveals that while housing costs definitely make up a huge chunk of expenses for a family of four, child care costs leave a comparable or even deeper dent in American wallets. In 500 out of the 618 areas analyzed, child care costs more than housing for such families, says Elise Gould, senior economist and director of health policy research at the institute.

Take Washington, D.C. For a family with two adults and two children, the tool computes average annual household expenses of $106,493. Here’s how that number breaks down:

D.C. is an expensive place and rents here are high, but the cost of child care for a family of four is almost double that of housing. While housing is about 17 percent of the total budget, child care takes up more than 29 percent (below):

The D.C. child care costs also place this estimate way above those in other expensive cities with comparable housing costs, such as New York (below, top) or San Francisco (below, bottom):

But for Americans without children, housing still remains the costliest item on their budget. Even in areas where rents are low or wages are high, a full-time minimum wage worker can’t earn nearly enough to take care of herself, Gould says.

You can test out the Family Budget Calculator tool here.

H/t: Washington City Paper

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in 2016.
    Transportation

    What Uber Did

    In his new book on the “Battle for Uber,” Mike Isaac chronicles the ruthless rise of the ride-hailing company and its founding CEO, Travis Kalanick.

  2. a photo of bikes on a bridge in Amsterdam
    Transportation

    Street by Street, Amsterdam Is Cutting Cars Out of the Picture

    Armed with a street-design tool called the knip, the Dutch capital is slashing car access in the city center, and expanding public transit hours.

  3. A worker walks through a glass-enclosed hallway facing a courtyard at St. Olav's Hospital in Trondheim, Norway.
    Design

    With a Deadline In Place, Norway Warms Up to Universal Design

    A hospital in Trondheim is a laboratory of sorts for the state’s ambitious plan to embrace a different way of creating buildings, transit, and even websites by 2025.

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. Transportation

    A Micromobility Experiment in Pittsburgh Aims to Get People Out of Their Cars

    The Pittsburgh Micromobility Collective will create all-in-one mobility hubs near transit stops, to compete with Uber and Lyft and help commuters go car-free.

×