The cost to raise a child in Washington has hit nearly $30K per year

Sep 19, 2023, 6:58 PM | Updated: Sep 20, 2023, 9:12 am

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Children wave their hands at a private nursery school January 28, 2...

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Children wave their hands at a private nursery school January 28, 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. The average price of pre-school care has increased over the past year, sending child care prices to an average of GBP200 in parts of the southeast. Many working parents in the UK have called for pre-school childcare subsidies such as those in France where nearly 100% of three-year-olds are in pre-school education, despite the fact that school attendance is not compulsory until they turn five. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Washingtonians know raising a child isn’t cheap. But many probably didn’t expect it to cost so much.

In the state of Washington, the annual cost to raise a child is nearly $30,000 a year, according to Lending Tree research.

Washington is the third-most expensive place to raise a child in the U.S. Basic annual expenses to raise a small child equal $28,166 in the state. The research examined expenses like housing, food, child care, apparel, transportation and health insurance premiums.

In Washington, families spend an average of 21.8% of their income on the basic annual expenses to raise a small child.

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Nationwide, the average annual essential costs to raise a small child jumped significantly in five years. Annual expenses minus tax exemptions or credits totaled $21,681 in 2021 as opposed to $18,167 in 2016.

“It’s a crazy number and those numbers are only from 2016 to 2021,” Lending Tree Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz told KIRO Newsradio. “And knowing just how much more expensive life has gotten since 2021, the unfortunate truth is that this report probably undersells how much more expensive it has gotten to raise a kid during that time. And anybody who is a parent knows how expensive it is in the end. For it to get more expensive is the last thing we need.”

Schulz told KIRO Newsradio one of the biggest reasons Washington ranks so high on the list is the actual cost of child care.

“(The state of Washington) also ranks pretty high when it comes to the percentage of their income spent on raising a child,” Schulz continued. “And it’s interesting because most of the other states that rank highly for that are lower income than Washington is.”

Washington parents spend almost $19,200 a year for daycare.

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“Some of it is demand. Some of it is labor. There’s a bunch of reasons for it,” Schulz said in response to high daycare costs. “And what it ultimately comes down to is it’s probably only going to get more expensive. So if you’re somebody who is thinking of having a kid or has a young kid, and maybe about to put them into daycare, assume that those costs are only going to get more expensive in the near future.

“It’s going to cost parents $257,000. It’s a quarter of a million dollars and that is just a really difficult number to wrap your brain around when it comes to something as fundamental as raising your kid,” Schulz continued. “And the cost of living in the people’s financial margin for error is generally so small. Anyway, when you factor in all of this stuff, it makes it really difficult and it makes for some really hard decisions for people. It’s just another example of how expensive life is in 2023. And it’s not really going to get any better anytime soon.”

Follow Micki Gamez on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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The cost to raise a child in Washington has hit nearly $30K per year