Stacy Robertson
Stacy Robertson
July 26, 2023 ·  3 min read

The 10 most expensive places to raise a family in the U.S.

Thinking of starting a family in the city? You may need to rethink your financial situation first. In some cases, it can cost upwards of six figures to support a family consisting of two adults and two children in the United States. Out of 618 metro areas studied, here are the 10 most expensive cities in the U.S. to raise a family ranked from least to most expensive:

Most Expensive American Cities

1. Danbury, Connecticut

Average Total Cost Annually: $89,000

Coming in at the bottom of the list is Danbury, Connecticut. While it has relatively high housing, childcare and tax costs, it remains in the tenth spot due to far lower costs elsewhere.

  • Housing- $13,932
  • Childcare- $16,824
  • Tax- $11,172
  • Other $11,256

2. San Francisco, CA


Average Total Cost Annually: $91,785

San Francisco may have the highest housing costs in the United States, but it makes up for this by having the lowest child care costs on the list. Clearly, there are some benefits to Bay City aside from just the view.

  • Housing- $23,472
  • Childcare- $10,815
  • Taxes- $12,492
  • Other- $15,864

3. Ithaca, NY

Average Total Cost Annually: $92,603

Known mostly as a college town with Cornell University and Ithaca College, it’s interesting to think that Ithaca has the lowest other expenses (entertainment, personal items, school supplies, etc) of the list. Like the rest of New York State, however, it skews on the higher end of childcare expenses. But when you’re a college sports fan you have to make sacrifices right?

  • Housing- $13,560
  • Childcare $24,132
  • Taxes- $13,716
  • Other- $11,088

4. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY

Average Total Cost Annually: $92,837

Because of their vicinity to New York City, these municipalities suffer from higher housing costs than most other parts of the state despite the quieter, small-town America feel.

  • Housing- $15,096
  • Childcare- $24,132
  • Taxes- $13,776
  • Other- $11,820

5. Honolulu, HI


Average Total Cost Annually: $94,092

Sometimes things aren’t always so fun under the sun, at least when it comes to raising a family. Honolulu has the highest food costs in the country at $11,244 per year which makes sense due to its location and the subsequent shipping expenses. They do, however, benefit from relatively low taxes and obviously killer waves.

  • Housing- $21,840
  • Childcare- $18,132
  • Taxes- $11,988
  • Other- $15,984

6. Stamford-Norwalk, CT

Average Total Cost Annually: $97,350

The second time Connecticut has made the list, largely due to not having any of the areas studied being inexpensive. While it’s not as high as others, the balance adds up in the end.

  • Housing- $22,290
  • Childcare- $16,824
  • Taxes- $15,487
  • Other $15,603

7. New York City, NY


Average Total Cost Annually: $98,722

To some it may be surprising that New York City doesn’t take the top spot, but due to the tight urban community they pay the lowest in transport costs at $6996 which helps lower their spot a bit.

  • Housing- $17,280
  • Childcare- $24,132
  • Taxes- $15,324
  • Other- $12,876

8. Westchester County, NY

Average Total Cost Annually: $99,592

The suburban draw of this county makes it more appealing than the hustle and bustle of the big city for new families, but it is still brought down by relatively high taxes. Yet, it’s still not even the most expensive in the state of New York.

  • Housing- $19,356
  • Childcare- $24,130
  • Taxes- $15,589
  • Other- $13,881

9. Nassau-Suffolk, NY

Average Total Cost Annually: $103,606

The most expensive area in New York State, Long Island has long been an appealing spot for city dwellers to raise a family. But this appeal helps drive up the housing costs as people look to escape the clustered mayhem of Manhattan.

  • Housing- $19,356
  • Childcare- $24,130
  • Taxes- $16,822
  • Other- $13,881

10. Washington, D.C


Average Total Cost Annually: $106,493

The nation’s capital coming in at the top spot may surprise some, but this city is home to the highest childcare costs and taxes in the country. We have to wonder if this includes the White House too.

  • Housing- $17,628
  • Childcare- $31,158
  • Taxes- $18,868
  • Other- $13,047

Quick Facts:

If you’re wondering about the other end of the spectrum, Morristown, Tennessee rounded out the bottom of the 618 areas studied with the lowest annual average costs in America at $49,114. And daycare? The average childcare cost nationwide was $12,500. Only four different states appear in the top ten, with New York unsurprisingly taking up half the spots. So it’s a good thing there are 46 other states to ponder over when thinking of starting your family!