5 Most Expensive States to Live in and Start a Family

Remember when you grew up in the two-story house, with the white picket fence and huge countryside kitchen? Neither do we. Times have certainly changed since the American Dream. Everything from space, location, to weather will cost you. Not to mention, being in a good school district is at the top of every parent’s “must-have” list when choosing a new home.

In fact, the cost of raising a child has become so expensive, choosing to have them at all has come into question. And, depending on what state you choose to live in could affect the cost of your food, childcare, health care, and type of education your children receive.

Investopedia.com took the average yearly cost of raising children with full-time childcare, yearly housing costs, the average in-state tuition and fees at a public university, and the average yearly food costs by region to determine how much money you would need to raise a child in any given state.

Housing costs were used toward furnishings, utilities, and anything that can be considered shelter. Food costs were assessed by taking the average food cost per household and dividing it by the average number of members per household (four).

Below are the top five that ranked the most expensive in the country.

New Hampshire
New Hampshire won the award for most expensive state to raise children. The average in-state tuition cost for a four-year program came to a staggering $14,576. In fact, the state’s only public university (University of New Hampshire) happens to have the highest tuition rates in the nation. Both childcare costs (based on a four-year-old child) and housing costs were high enough to keep New Hampshire solidly in the number one spot.

New Jersey
The Garden State is prime real estate and should come as no surprise as number two on the list. It offers more real estate for less money than being in the city, but it’s still a quick stop to New York for work or play, and is close enough to drive to other states and enjoy the numerous beach cities (Jersey Shore anyone?) Unfortunately, all the convenience comes at a price. While it ranks close to New Hampshire in food and childcare costs, it’s the real estate here that really costs an arm and a leg. Try $5,300 per child annually as the average housing cost.

The heart of New England has the highest childcare costs of any state on this list. Massachusetts has a top-five ranking for infants, toddlers and adolescents costing a whopping $10,000 annually per child. Not to say the other categories looked at didn’t closely mirror the other states, but childcare costs are what makes this state stand out.

Rhode Island
Similar to New Jersey, the placement of Rhode Island makes it prime real estate for any families interested in being close to New York and beach towns. It’s a slower pace of life, a nice place to raise a family, but it comes with an annual cost of $25,949. The costs for the other categories researched didn’t come up particularly high, but they were spread pretty evenly for amounts—placing Rhode Island in the top 15 for housing costs, childcare costs, and in-state tuition costs.

Vermont had the highest charge for food in any state, with an annual cost of $1,750 per child. All other states shared similar food prices. The annual cost of raising a child in this picturesque town comes to $25,707. Worth the two-story house and white picket fence? Only you can decide if it’s worth it.

Investopedia warns that while the top five states here placed in the northeaster region, raising families in western regions aren’t substantially less—Hawaii, Minnesota, California, and Illinois all placed in the top 15 as most expensive states.