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Report: Child care costs sting in Naples, Sarasota

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 8:30 a.m. June 19, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Florida
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Cost of living studies and reports in Florida of late have mostly focused on housing — for good reason. Finding a place to live, for many in a variety of fields, has gone from hard to heartache to hellish. That struggle, in turn, has a direct impact on the business community. 

But another segment of expenses that shouldn’t be overlooked is the cost of having kids. And, according to a new analysis from data firm SmartAsset, that’s not cheap. When factoring in food, housing, child care, health care, transportation and other necessities, it costs an average of $20,813 annually nationwide when a two-adult household adds a child, the report found. (On the flip side, with a declining birth rate nationally, the costs of not having children, to society and in business, are also high.) 

Child care, costing on average $9,051 a year nationwide, is the biggest expense when it comes to the overall aspect of taking care of another human being, according to the report. That accounts for nearly 50% of the annual cost of raising a child. 

Bringing Up Baby
Metro AreaCosts of Raising a ChildChild CareHousingFood
Naples-Marco Island$24,637$10,534$1,768$5,724
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton$24,321$10,362$1,768$5,580
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater$22,259$10,244$1,768$3,636
Punta Gorda$22,052$9,953
Cape Coral-Fort Myers$21,126$9,687
Lakeland-Winter Haven$19,272$8,181$1,768$2,712
Source: SmartAsset

The first Florida region to appear on the report is Naples-Marco Island, where the annual cost of raising a child, the report found, is $24,637. That’s No. 37 nationally. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton is next up for Florida areas, at No. 47. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region is No. 100, Punta Gorda is No. 108 and Cape Coral-Fort Myers is No. 145. Lakeland-Winter Haven is the least expensive metro area in the region, at an annual average cost of $19,272. 

Some other interesting data points in the report, which looked at the cost metrics for raising one  child in 381 metro areas across the country, include: 

  • Raising a child costs more than $33,000 annually, on average, in three California regions: San Francisco, Santa Cruz and San Jose. That’s a tick more than two Massachusetts regions, Barnstable Town and Boston, where it costs $32,000 a year, on average. 
  • Five of the 10 metro areas with where costs are lowest to raise a child are in South Carolina: Sumter, Columbia, Florence, Hilton Health Island-Bluffton and Spartanburg. 
  • The most affordable metro area is Morristown, Tennessee, outside Knoxville, where the average cost is $14,577 a year. 
  • Couples with one child spend an average of $3,407 more on housing than childless couples. 



Mark Gordon

Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

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