NerdWallet says: Would-be parents have no idea how much a baby costs

This baby costs more than $1,000 or $5,000 a year. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.

Surprise, surprise, parents-to-be have no idea how much a baby costs.

A new survey by NerdWallet of people expecting to start a family within the next three years found that 18 percent of these would-be parents think a baby will cost about $1,000 for the first year; 44 percent thought it would be less than $5,000.

Yet, NerdWallet found that the cost of raising a baby in that first year is … between $21,248 to $51,985, depending on parents’ income level. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that it’s about $233,610 to raise a child through his 17th year.

NerdWallet’s survey also found that


  • 3 of 10 parents had no money saved before having their baby
  • 57 percent of parents regret not taking more financial action
  • one-quarter of Americans (and 42 percent of millennials) expect friends and family to contribute more than 20 percent of the first-year parenting costs

One of the biggest ways that these parents underestimated the cost was in child care. Childcare Aware of America found that in Texas, the average cost for $9,207 a year, which is about the same as college tuition.


NerdWallet does have a tool to help you estimate the cost. I used the calculator for our area and kept everything simple rather than deluxe for food, clothing, toys, daycare and it estimated I would spend $24,609 a year that first year on that baby.

And now, parents, you understand why you have no money.

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