How Much Does the Average Family Spend on Children?

August 6, 2011

My latest tax deduction (also known as a child for you amateur finance readers) uses diapers at an alarming rate and I’m wondering if it is going to greatly impact the family budget.

I thought it would be a good time to see what information is available for family spending on children. I find it helpful to use national averages to set goals in my own budget, to see how my spending compares and help me identify areas that need to be worked on. To my excitement, I located a report from the Department of Agriculture.

According to the report, families spend on average from birth to 17, $11,880 per year on one child and $13,830 for two. Just a reminder, the basic tax benefits per child are only $1,550 each year. As a percent of the whole annual expense, the following pie chart represents costs for a single child.

However, it is much more useful to think about it in terms of monthly expense.

Housing – $306.90 per month

Child Care and Education – $168.30 per month

Food – 158.40 per month

Transportation – 138.60 per month

Health care – $79.20 per month

Misc – $79.20 per month

Clothing – $59.40 per month

Diapers are included in the $59.40 per month for clothing and thanks to hand-me-downs, we are right on target and with a little coupon help, maybe we can do better? I’m also  pleased to see that we are below the national averages on all expenses. Although the study did find that expenses increase as a child ages.

However, the most interesting fact I find from this study is that a second child adds only about $2,000 per year to the family budget. After your first tax deduction, the second tax deduction comes at quite a discounted price and I do love tax deductions and discounts!

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One Response to How Much Does the Average Family Spend on Children?

  1. [...] good starting place is to see what other families are doing; leading me into another one of my trademark “average family articles” that are so popular with google. We can guess at the average family [...]

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