Parent Traps

The 15 Worst Cities to Have A Baby, from New York to Miami

From the cost of diapers to the number of obstetricians available, these are the cities where new parents are likely to pay top dollar for lower quality of life.

Last week the USDA released new data (PDF) on the cost of raising kids. A middle income family will spend nearly $250,000 to raise a child born last year until age 17, a 2.6 percent increase over babies born in 2011.

 

But, as the department recognizes, cost varies depending on where parents live among other factors. To figure out which cities may offer a relatively higher cost and lower quality of life for new babies and new parents, we used cost projections from Redfin for a baby’s first year in 40 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) across the U.S., which we measured against the metro area’s median household wage to figure out the percentage of household income that would be devoted to baby care.

 

We also considered the number of ob/gyns per capita (American Medical Association), the average commute time for parents (U.S. Census), percentage of the population 5 years or younger (U.S. Census) and the number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents (The Trust for Public Land (PDF)).

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Christian Science Monitor

1. New York, N.Y.

Cost of baby’s first year: $36,700

Cost as percentage of household income: 59%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 17.6

Population under 5 years old: 6.2%

Avg. commuting time: 34.9 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: 2

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

2. Santa Cruz, Calif.

Cost of baby’s first year: $38,800

Cost as percentage of household income: 62%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 11.2

Population under 5 years old: 5.7%

Avg. commuting time: 25.4 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: n/a

Damian Dovarganes/AP

3. Los Angeles, Calif.

Cost of baby’s first year: $30,100

Cost as percentage of household income: 53%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 13.2

Population under 5 years old: 6.5%

Avg. commuting time: 28.6 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: 1

Patrick Semansky/AP

4. Hagerstown, Md.

Cost of baby’s first year: $22,600

Cost as percentage of household income: 44%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 9.4

Population under 5 years old: 6%

Avg. commuting time: 30.2 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: n/a

Christopher Fitzgerald/AP

5. Worcester, Mass.

Cost of baby’s first year: $28,700

Cost as percentage of household income: 47%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 9.9

Population under 5 years old: 5.8%

Avg. commuting time: 27.9 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: n/a

J. Pat Carter/AP

6. Miami, Fla.

Cost of baby’s first year: $21,300

Cost as percentage of household income: 47%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 12.1

Population under 5 years old: 5.8%

Avg. commuting time: 27.4 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: 1.4

George Rose/Getty

7. Santa Rosa, Calif.

Cost of baby’s first year: $32,000

Cost as percentage of household income: 52%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 10.8

Population under 5 years old: 5.7%

Avg. commuting time: 24.9 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: n/a

Ted S. Warren/AP

8. Bremerton, Wash.

Cost of baby’s first year: $22,700

Cost as percentage of household income: 38%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 5.5

Population under 5 years old: 5.7%

Avg. commuting time: 28.7 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: n/a

Eric Risberg/AP

9. San Francisco, Calif.

Cost of baby’s first year: $35,900

Cost as percentage of household income: 50%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 17.8

Population under 5 years old: 5.9%

Avg. commuting time: 29.2 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: 1.6

Westley Hargraves/Barcroft Media/Getty

10. Riverside, Calif.

Cost of baby’s first year: $24,500

Cost as percentage of household income: 47%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 6.6

Population under 5 years old: 7.5%

Avg. commuting time: 31 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: 1.4

Stephan Savoia/AP

11. Providence, R.I.

Cost of baby’s first year: $26,700

Cost as percentage of household income: 50%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 13.3

Population under 5 years old: 5.3%

Avg. commuting time: 24.5 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: n/a

Don Ryan/AP

12. Portland, Ore.

Cost of baby’s first year: $25,800

Cost as percentage of household income: 47%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 3.4

Population under 5 years old: 6.4%

Avg. commuting time: 24.4 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: 2.1

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

13. Modesto, Calif.

Cost of baby’s first year: $24,500

Cost as percentage of household income: 56%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 7.5

Population under 5 years old: 7.6%

Avg. commuting time: 26.8 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: n/a

Stephan Savoia/AP

14. Boston, Mass.

Cost of baby’s first year: $34,000

Cost as percentage of household income: 49%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 17.0

Population under 5 years old: 5.6%

Avg. commuting time: 29.2 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: 3.6

M. Spencer Green/AP

15. Chicago, Ill.

Cost of baby’s first year: $25,500

Cost as percentage of household income: 45%

Ob/Gyns per 100,000 residents: 15.0

Population under 5 years old: 6.6%

Avg. commuting time: 30.9 minutes

Playgrounds per 10,000 residents: 1.9