The Cost of Having a Baby in 2024
Written by: VeryVery Editorial Team
The journey of bringing a new life into the world is filled with love and anticipation, yet it comes with a new set of financial considerations. Between the need for larger living spaces, additional groceries, and the unavoidable expenses associated with childbirth and baby care, the economic checklist for new parents is extensive—especially during a time when inflation has become a household discussion.
At VeryVery, our goal has always been to alleviate some of the stress that comes with parenthood by creating high-quality, hypoallergenic baby diapers that are within reach for every family. To further our commitment, we've explored the cost of having a baby in all 50 US states to help new parents prepare for the exciting journey ahead, ensuring the joy of having a baby isn't overshadowed by financial uncertainties.
Interesting Facts and Findings
- With a total cost of $31,273, Massachusetts tops the charts as the priciest place to have a baby—over double the cost of the least expensive state, Mississippi, at $15,228.
- If you're having a baby in Hawaii, expect a yearly rent hike of $7,452—the highest increase across all states.
- In Virginia, it only costs an additional $312 per year to upgrade from a one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom, which comes out to only $26 per month. Hawaii's rent increase is more than 23 times that of Virginia!
- Alaska's childbirth costs, the highest at $13,244, underscore the hidden premiums for services in remote locations, where transportation and delivery of care are more complex and expensive. In comparison, new parents in Alabama only pay $6,191, the lowest in the country.
- Despite New York's high cost of living, total baby expenses amount to $23,403, which is less than several states with no income tax, including Alaska, New Hampshire, and Washington.
Increased Rental Costs
The sound of baby giggles and toddling steps is a delightful thought for any expecting parent, but welcoming the newest member of the family often leads to logistical changes and a real estate hunt. Whether parents need extra space for a nursery or want a larger area living area to accommodate the new family dynamics, it's almost inevitable that they'll need additional square footage, leading to an uptick in rental costs.
The cost of upsizing to a larger apartment or home can have vastly different financial implications depending on where you live. For instance, families in several small states with scarce land, such as Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, pay at least an additional $5,000/year to upgrade from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom apartment. Conversely, parents living in southern states, notably Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Louisiana, face less than a $2,000 annual increase for the same housing upgrade.
The appeal of specific locations often fuels these rent hikes, whether because of the area's amenities, neighborhood, or proximity to work or family. However, there are a few exceptions, like New York and Texas, that have booming cities yet modest rent increases at $924 and $1,836, respectively.
Moving and Child-Proofing Expenses
In addition to paying more for rent, parents should account for child-proofing and moving costs. On average, hiring a moving company in the US costs between $883 to $2,549 and substantially more for long-distance moves—up to $12,000. Child-proofing the new home is also a consideration, whether parents need to upgrade window guards, install safety gates, or alter furniture to make it safe for the baby.
The expense of childcare is an unavoidable reality for many families. The average family pays $9,810 annually, and some spend well over this amount, especially when extensive care is required such as changing diapers and bottle feeding. Urban areas, states with high living costs, and places with few options tend to have the most expensive childcare costs. Moreover, when coupled with the challenges surrounding parental leave, childcare is often a significant but necessary financial obligation for new parents.
For households where both parents work, childcare is usually the default option unless they have family members or trusted friends who can help. Unfortunately, this is a common dilemma many new parents eventually face, leading to tough decisions about work and family balance. In some regions, the high demand and low supply of reputable childcare services can drive the costs even higher, which becomes even more complex with the addition of more children to the family.
Parental Leave Culture
Unlike our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, the United States doesn't impose a federally mandated paid family leave. However, the US does have the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires twelve weeks of unpaid leave for parents who work for a company with 50 or more employees for at least one year. While several businesses offer substantially more than what's required—Netflix reportedly provides up to 52 weeks of paid leave—several parents still find themselves left with no other option but to pay for childcare.
Cost of Giving Birth
The arrival of a baby is an exciting day for parents, and the total cost depends on several factors, including the type of delivery, healthcare provider, and insurance coverage. Our data focuses on birth costs with insurance, revealing that the expenses can be substantially higher without coverage. It's essential for soon-to-be parents to research their policy, including the coverage for prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care, as total costs can range anywhere from about $6,000 to well over $13,000.
Additionally, the method of delivery—whether a vaginal birth or C-section—significantly influences the cost, with the latter tending to be more expensive due to the surgical procedure and extended hospital stay. The recovery time is also typically longer, which could require an extended maternity leave or additional home care, adding an extra layer of complexity since medical circumstances often dictate the delivery method.
We did an analysis of three main data points to get the aggregate cost of having a baby by state in 2024. The points we analyzed are:
- Childbirth cost: the average cost of giving birth in every state with insurance. The data is weighted based on CDC data for vaginal births at 67.9% and c-section births at 32.1%.
- Rent increase: the average cost increase for upgrading from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom apartment over the course of a year.
- Childcare costs for one year: the average cost of daycare for one child for a full year.
To get these three main points of data, we referenced a combination of seven state-focused data sets:
- PolicyScout: Costs of Childbirth by State
- CDC: National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 70, Number 17
- CDC: Births – Method of Delivery
- World Population Review: Child Care Costs by State [Updated May 2023]
- Apartment List: Data & Rent Estimates
- Apartment List: Cost of Living in Vermont, 2023
- Apartment List: Cost of Living in Alaska, 2023