It’s no secret that childcare and rent are both expensive in many areas of the U.S., and that both those costs vary by where you live. The annual cost of childcare in Washington D.C. averages around $22,000, while in Alabama, it costs the average family $5500. The average one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco costs $3600 a month, while the average in Columbus, Ohio, is $750. But a new report quantifies the difference between the white-picket-fence life and the bustling metropolis life.
As Curbed reports, Zillow and Care.com have released a new analysis that compares the cost of living expenses (defined as mortgages and property taxes) and childcare costs around the country in both urban and suburban areas. They found that urban families with two children spend an average of $9073 more annually ($756 per month) in housing and childcare costs than families that live in the suburbs.
That’s not to say you should ferry your kids out of the city ASAP. There are plenty of reasons, financial and otherwise, to live in a dense urban area. You might be able to get around without a car, allowing you to save on gas and car insurance (and the worry of your teenagers getting into accidents). Maybe your commute time is shorter, letting you spend more time with those kids. But this data confirms what people living in expensive cities probably already know: Upgrading to a bigger apartment is pricey.
In some regions, however, city living can actually be the cheaper choice. In New York, Chicago, and Dallas, families with two kids spend up to $6000 a month more on their living expenses than suburban families (though that number can vary drastically depending on which suburb you’re talking about). But in places with more tony suburbs, living in the city can be cheaper than pursuing that big backyard in the ‘burbs: In Philadelphia and Baltimore, suburban families pay an average of $1200 a month more than city families.
When you look at the basic numbers, though, it’s easy to see why people leave behind their bustling city lives for a cul-de-sac house with a backyard once they have a few kids. Being a city kid is expensive.