Babies are expensive. It’s not just buying diapers, childcare, and child-proof locks for all of your cabinets, either. You need to think long term. Education costs, sports and extracurriculars — and don’t forget about all of those calories they’re going to need in order to grow up to be a healthy adult. The costs can reach into the stratosphere. Even so, having a baby is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in life.
But the costs start rolling in long before the baby actually arrives. There are doctor visits and additional bedrooms to plan. Toys, baby showers, and cribs — on top of planning for taking the required amount of time away from work for maternity and paternity leave. One of the biggest expenses, if you haven’t even taken it into consideration, is the actual cost of childbirth. That is, the bill you get from the hospital where your new son or daughter will be born.
In the United States, those costs can vary wildly. Because we lack a central health care system, private insurers typically end up paying for most of a childbirth. Or, if you’re uninsured, you end up even further in the weeds. Most other countries have some sort of centralized, national health care system. This makes things much more easy to manage, and can often be supplemented with private insurance as well.
Because there are so many variables, the costs of childbirth can fluctuate from country to country. Coyne College, a Chicago-based trade school, recently researched childbirth costs around the world and published a brief with the results.
We pulled 10 countries from around the world and ranked them from least to most expensive on the following pages.
You’d do the tango, too, if your hospital bills were so low. While it’s not exactly free, the average cost of childbirth in Argentina is $2,237, per the Coyne College brief. For a C-Section, average costs are $2,972.
While health care costs in the U.S. are famous for being extremely high, the cost of a routine procedure drops dramatically across the 49th parallel. In Canada, the average cost for having a baby is $3,195, and a C-Section is $5,980.
Bordering Argentina, but with slightly higher prices, is Chile. Chileans pay, on average, $3,589 to have a baby. For a C-Section, this price is identical: $3,589.
Citizens of the United Kingdom have the benefit of the National Health Service to cover most health issues. The NHS covers pregnancy and childbirth, but people can also opt for private options. As a result, costs are relatively affordable when compared with the U.S. A childbirth in the U..K., on average, costs $4,609.
The average childbirth down under tops $5,000. For Australians, a childbirth will run $5,312. A C-Section, on the other hand, costs $7,901.
Things tend to be expensive in Switzerland. That includes having a baby, which has an average cost of $7,751. A C-Section, on average, costs $9,965.
Having a baby in the small city-state of Singapore isn’t exactly cheap. Though the country does have a national health care system (and one that is ranked among the world’s best), service isn’t provided for free. As a result, childbirth costs an average of $8,045, and $10,195 for a C-Section.
8. Hong Kong
Coyne College’s brief singles out Hong Kong from the rest of China. In Hong Kong, having a baby isn’t cheap — the average cost of childbirth is $12,172, and a C-Section is $15,866.
9. United States
As you may have suspected, the United States is on the more expensive end of the spectrum. There are a lot of complicated reasons that health procedures (like childbirth) are so expensive in the U.S., and it’s reflected when you get down to costs. For example, a childbirth, on average will cost $10,808, and a C-Section $16,106. It often goes much higher than that, however.
The last place you want to go into labor? Japan. Even though it’s “widely acknowledged as one of the safest places in which to give birth,” according to Coyne College, the costs are astronomical. The average delivery in a Japanese hospital costs more than $61,000.