The most expensive (and cheapest) places to raise a child

It can cost more than $32,000 a year to raise a child in some metropolitan areas in California, in comparison to the roughly $15,000 it costs in Tennessee.

California is home to the most expensive places to raise a child, costing more than $32,000 a year in some areas, according to a SmartAsset study. This figure far exceeds the national average of $20,813, by a margin of more than $10,000.

The finance website calculated the ongoing costs involved in raising a child, including: housing, child care, food, transportation, medical care, and other necessities. It compared these costs in 381 metropolitan areas of the country to determine a household's daily expenses in two different situations: a two-parent household with one child, and a household with two adults with no children.

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The most expensive places to raise a child

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, Calif.: Raising a child in this part of the country costs $35,647 a year. Housing is $10,499 more expensive for families with a child compared to those without. On the other hand, the cost of child care is also high, coming in at $16,317.
  1. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.: Couples here spend about $33,877 per year on raising one child. Couples with one child spend more $12,636 annually on housing than two childless adults, the most of the 381 areas analyzed in the study.
  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.: The annual cost of raising a child here is $33,228. Child care in this area costs an average of $15,785 per year. Parents with one child spend $8,612 more per year on housing than childless couples.
  1. Barnstable, Mass.: Parents in this area with one child spend $18,094 per year on child care alone. Housing costs $7,572 more per year. Add medical care, food and other expenses, and the total cost of raising a child in this area is $33,184 annually.
  1. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass. / N.H.: Raising a child in this area costs $32,307 per year. On food alone, couples with a child spend $2,054 more than those without. The same goes for housing; couples with one child must add $6,897 to the cost of a home.

The least expensive places to raise a child

#1 Morristown, Tenn., is the least expensive place in the country to raise a child, with a total cost of about $14,577 annually. Childcare spending barely reaches $4,901 per year, and housing is also inexpensive with an average additional cost of $1,865 compared to childless couples.

Morristown is followed by: Sumter, S.C., with an average cost of $14,702; Jackson, Tenn. ($15,246); Gadsden, Ala. ($15,261) and Longview, Texas ($15,345).