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Canada’s birth rate is dropping. And while the drop isn’t entirely attributable to the costs of raising a child in Canada, it may be part of the reason why Canadian citizens and permanent residents are choosing to delay having children or have no/fewer children.
So, how much does it really cost to raise a child in Canada? Let’s dig in.

Key Takeaways

  • You should expect to spend around 26% of your income on child-related expenses, if you’re in a two-child, two-parent family earning around $110,000 annually. 
  • It’s more expensive to raise teenagers than younger children, in part due to increasing clothing and food costs. 
  • Putting your child through post-secondary education increases the cost of raising children by 29%, on average. 
  • There are steps you can take to reduce the financial burden of raising a child, including finding affordable child care so both parents can work (assuming a two-parent family), taking advantage of tax-advantaged accounts for child education, finding second hand items, and reducing your transportation costs. 

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How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Child In Canada?

The most recent reporting from Statistics Canada showed that the average cost per child in a medium-income two-parent family raising two children in Canada from birth to age 17 was $293,000. Annually, the costs per child would be around $17,200. 

However, the cost does vary depending on family structure and the number of children. What this tells us is that it’s possible to reduce the costs of raising a child. Lower income two-parent families with two children would typically spend $238,190 to raise a child to 17 years of age. While single parents of two children spend around $231,260 per child, or between $12,160-$13,510 per child annually.

What Is The Most Expensive Part Of Raising A Child?

Housing tends to be the highest cost associated with raising children in Canada. This is unsurprising, since housing is generally quite expensive in Canada (especially in the current housing crisis), and larger houses tend to be more expensive. Typically, parents can expect around 27-32% of the costs of raising a child to go towards housing. 

Transportation tended to be the second largest expense for parents raising children in Canada. For two parent families, transportation costs were around 18-20% of the total cost of raising a child, while this dropped to 11-15% for single-parent families. The decrease is likely due to single-parent families typically having just one vehicle, while two-parent families would have two. 

Food costs also ate into the budget significantly, and typically represented the third highest expenses for families in Canada. Child care and education were the fourth largest expense for families in Canada, while clothing, miscellaneous, and healthcare made up the remainder. 

There are, of course, regional differences in the costs of raising a child too. It tends to be cheaper than average to raise a child in Canada’s Atlantic provinces, while the costs are above average in Western Canada.

Working Parents in Canada: Is It Common For Both Parents To Work? 

In Canada, the share of two-earner families has increased significantly in recent years. In 2021, it was around 61.3%, compared to 47.1% in 1990. This is largely due to an increase in the number of mothers with young children entering the workforce – a number which recently peaked at 72% in 2021. 

The average income of dual-earner families in Canada in 2021 was just over $110,000. At this income level, the cost of raising two-children aged between 6-12 would be $14,500 per child, or $29,000 annually. This represents around 26% of that family’s income for the year. 


Tips To Reduce The Financial Burden of Raising A Child In Canada

Consider becoming a one-car family

If you’re in a two-parent family, you could consider whether it’s possible or realistic for you to become a one-car household. Transportation costs are one of the largest costs associated with raising a child. So, reducing your reliance on a second vehicle could really help move the needle to keep your average costs down. 

Find $10-a-day child care

Canada’s federal government has introduced programs in an effort to provide child care for $10 per child per day. While not all child care providers have signed up for this (and some may not sign up for it), you can save yourself a lot of money by sourcing this child care. 

It can be extremely competitive to get in, however. In some regions, you may even need to sign up years in advance to be accepted. Learn more about child care in our guide to child care for newcomers. 

Contribute to an RESP 

An RESP is a tax-advantaged registered account that allows parents to save for their child’s post-secondary education. You may even be eligible for the Canada Learning Bond of up to $2,000 and/or the Canada Education Savings Grant of up to $7,200, which means the Canadian government may help to fund this account too. 

You’ll pay less tax while saving for your child’s education and potentially get free money from the government for doing so. It’s a win-win-win. 

Shop Second Hand Where Possible

While buying new is a good idea for some items (like your crib mattress), shopping second hand can help reduce the financial burden of raising a child as well as your net impact on the environment. 

About the author

Stephanie Ford profile picture

Stephanie Ford

Finance, Law and Immigration Writer
Stephanie is a content marketer who has written for law firms (with a focus on immigration and privacy), legal tech companies, and finance professionals for more than 9 years. She earned a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning in Australia. Stephanie is now a permanent resident of Canada and a full-time writer at Moving2Canada.
Read more about Stephanie Ford
Citation "How Much Does It Cost To Raise a Child In Canada?." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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