- Housing costs. Redfin calculated the cost of "upsizing" to a bigger home by comparing median prices consumers paid between May 1 and July 30 for two-bedroom houses or condos in each city vs. three-bedroom ones. The site then calculated the added mortgage costs you'd incur during your baby's first year if you bought the larger place using a 30-year, 4.5% fixed-rate loan.
- Child care. Redfin estimated each city's child-care costs by combining National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies figures for expenses by state with U.S. Labor Department data for child-care workers' salaries by metro area. Figures refer to nine months of child care, as the study assumed at least one parent will stay home during a newborn's first three months.
- Energy. The study projected the added energy costs involved in having a baby by multiplying U.S. Census estimates of each metro area's typical home-heating and cooling costs by 20%. "Having had children myself, I can tell you that if you ever go into a newborn's house [in the winter] you're asking: 'Why is it 90 degrees in here?'" Unger says.
- Health care. Redfin estimated that newborns' parents incur $3,000 in extra out-of-pocket medical expenses regardless of where they live. That's based on a 2013 study commissioned by the nonprofit group Childbirth Connection.
- Baby items. Using BabyCenter.com figures, the site assumed that families spend around $5,500 regardless of location for diapers, sippy cups and everything else a baby needs in its first year other than child care.
5 Cities Where It Costs Less to Raise a Baby
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