Raising children in America is more expensive than ever as the costs of basic necessities, daycare, and transportation surge to record highs.

According to a new report by Creditnews Research, a household of two adults raising one child has to earn an average of $91,608 annually just to make ends meet.

This figure jumps to $114,898 for households with two children and a staggering $133,197 for households with three children.

By Creditnews Research estimates, the average annual cost of raising one child in the top 100 metro areas of the United States comes to $22,989.

“Families with kids have to bring in at least six figures in most major metropolitan areas just to get by—let alone eating out, traveling, and spending on other entertainment,” the report noted.

The study analyzed ”living income thresholds" for dual-income households with and without children and compared how much these households have to earn just to meet their basic needs.

Childcare costs include food, healthcare, housing, transportation, civic engagement, internet and phone, and other basic necessities.

Where families choose to raise their kids has a major impact on how much they spend.

In more affordable metro areas across the Midwest and South, a household with two working adults is expected to spend $14,000 to $17,000 per child annually.

Meanwhile, in parts of California and the Northeast, the "price tag" for bringing up a kid varies from $30,000 to $37,000.

Americans put off having a family

The exorbitant costs of children show in declining birth rates as more and more parents hold off on having children.

Since 2007, the U.S. fertility rate has plunged by nearly 24% to a record low of 1.62 births per woman as of the end of 2023.

That’s the lowest since record-keeping began in the 1930s and well below the 2.1 births per woman social scientists say is needed to sustain healthy population growth.

While there are many reasons why Americans are choosing to have fewer children, like getting married later in life and spending more time in the workforce, the cost is a major factor.

Before the pandemic, The New York Times studied why young adults were having fewer children and found that four of the top five reasons were all tied to “economic insecurity.”

Americans were mostly worried about childcare costs as well as the future of the economy, making them think twice about children until things looked up.

Fast forward to 2024, and the responses are consistent.

A survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that more than 20% of parents with children don’t plan to have another child because of high costs.

“The cost of children looms large in the minds of both parents and prospective parents, making people think twice before growing their family,” according to personal finance expert Kimberly Palmer.

Isabel Fliss, a financial adviser for McKague Financial, said childcare costs are forcing Americans to make unfortunate trade-offs between costs and quality of care.

“Despite being crucial for children’s growth and welfare, quality childcare often comes at a hefty price,” Fliss said.

This often leads parents “to prioritize cost over quality or find challenges in finding affordable care that aligns with their expectations, causing stress and concerns about their child’s welfare.”