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How Much Does Your Family Need to Get By?

A new tool compares housing, food, child care, and other household costs in 618 American metros.
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PROTravis Prebble / Flickr

If you have kids, you already know that the cute little humans come with a host of unavoidable costs—especially if you live in a big city. A new tool developed by the Economic Policy Institute adds up these expenses for metro areas across the U.S. and calculates how much a family (up to two adults and eight children) would need to get by in each place.

A quick dive into the data reveals that while housing costs definitely make up a huge chunk of expenses for a family of four, child care costs leave a comparable or even deeper dent in American wallets. In 500 out of the 618 areas analyzed, child care costs more than housing for such families, says Elise Gould, senior economist and director of health policy research at the institute.