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. Design

    There’s a Tile Theft Epidemic in Lisbon

    With a single azulejo fetching hundreds of euros at the city’s more reputable antique stores, these tiles, sitting there out in the open, are easy pickings.

  2. Design

    The Curious Politics of a Montreal Mega-Mall

    The car-dependent suburb it’ll be built in wants to greenlight Royalmount against the city government’s wishes but it needs them to pay for the public infrastructure.

  3. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  4. Multicolored maps of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tampa, denoting neighborhood fragmentation
    Equity

    Urban Neighborhoods, Once Distinct by Race and Class, Are Blurring

    Yet in cities, affluent white neighborhoods and high-poverty black ones are outliers, resisting the fragmentation shown with other types of neighborhoods.

  5. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.