Calculating the Cost of Having a Baby, Raising a Family in Brooklyn, New York

Free Online "Cost of Raising a Child" Calculator Has Pros, Cons

The financial implications of starting a family, or having a second or third child, can be daunting. And anywhere in New York City, including Brooklyn, the family cost of living is driven up New York City's high cost of housing.

Free Online Calculator Estimates First Child Costs at Least $300,000 Birth to Age 18

Parents from Park Slope to Williamsburg can begin to get a handle on how much it costs to raise a child in Brooklyn using this free online Cost of Raising a Child Calculator.

A public service from the US Department of Agriculture, the Cost of Raising a Child Calculator gives a broad idea of how much a given American family will spend, on average, per child.

It’s simple to use. Most importantly, you can tailor it to your own circumstances in Brooklyn.

Cost of Having a Family in Brooklyn, New York

Take the case of a hypothetical two-income Brooklyn couple with a joint income of between about $50,000 and $100,00. According to the Cost of Raising a Child Calculator, this couple’s first child would cost $16,663 for one year. Over eighteen years, that adds up to about $300,000.

If the same family had two children, ages 1 and 4, the annual cost for both children is estimated at $26,650. (It's less than double because the Cost of Raising a Child Calculator software assumes certain costs are associated with having a first child, notably a larger home.)

The annual cost of having three children under the age of six is estimated at only $31,000. That’s literally two extra children, for the price of one.

Family Budget Factors Included in the Cost of Raising a Child Calculator

  • Housing expenses (for instance, rent or mortgage, maintenance, insurance, utilities,etc.)
  • Food expenses
  • Transportation expenses
  • Clothing expenses
  • Health care expenses not covered by insurance
  • Child care and education expenses
  • Miscellaneous expenses such as personal care items (haircuts, toothbrushes, etc.) entertainment (portable media players, sports equipment, televisions, computers, etc.), and reading materials (non-school books, magazines, etc.).

Family Budget Factors Omitted in the Cost of Raising a Child Calculator

Big-ticket items — saving for college and uninsured health expenses, summer camp, and family trips — are not included in this calculation. Neither are personal gifts, big parties, ballet lessons, charitable contributions, or legal expenses.

These omissions have stirred some ire. For instance, a Time Magazine article details ways in which the calculator underestimates the real cost of having a family.

Plus, it doesn't begin to include urban lifestyles for many Brooklyn families. Factor in nannies or private schools (tuition can run over $30,000 a year) and it might seem better not to know exactly how much it’s going to cost to raise a family in Brooklyn.

Data and Limitations of Calculator Estimates of the Costs of Having Kids in Brooklyn

The estimates produced by the Cost of Raising a Child Calculator are based on broad survey data, drawn from the USDA Nutrition Policy and Promotion Center’s annual statistical survey, called “Expenditures on Children by Families."

The data is available only in large geographic swaths. Brooklyn falls within the Northeast segment, which includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. New York City, obviously, is more expensive — and Brooklyn, too — than most of the rest of the Northeast region.


The Cost of Raising a Child Calculator is an imperfect but useful service. Brooklyn parents, or people considering having a family, can use it to tease out budget elements that apply to their own circumstances.

The best advice for figuring out how much it costs to raise a family in Brooklyn? Use the online calculator as a jumping off point. Then do your own custom budget.

Pros and Cons of the Online Calculator in Determining the Cost of Raising a Family in Brooklyn


  • Helps parents and prospective parents plan budgets
  • Scope out what costs generally are
  • Estimates overall costs
  • Based on broad national statistics Cons
  • Omits big items: mortgage down payment, college savings, expensive extracurricular lessons or summer camp
  • Omits cost of private babysitter or nanny
  • Omits cost of computers for kids
  • New York City is more expensive than other parts of the Northeast.
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