The Cost to Raise a Child Increases to (Gulp) $241,080

It costs HOW much to raise a child?

The cost to raise a child has gone up. Which means you might want to sit down for this one.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Cost of Raising a Child Report was just released, and states that a child born in 2012 will run his or her middle-income parents a whooping $241,070 for food, shelter and “other necessities” over a 17-year period (which comes out to $301,970 when adjusted for projected inflation). That’s a 2.6 percent increase over child rearing expenses from 2011.

“As the economy continues to recover, families are naturally cost conscious. This report gives families with children a greater awareness of the expenses they are likely to face,” USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon said. “The report is also a valuable resource for courts and state governments in determining child support guidelines and foster care payments.”

The annual report is based on the Federal government’s Consumer Expenditure Survey, and says that family income plays a large role in affecting child-rearing costs such that a family earning less than $60,640 per year “can expect to spend a total of $173,490 (in 2012 dollars) on a child from birth through high school,” while it’s middle-income parents with an income between $60,640 and $105,000 are the ones expected to shell out $241,080 between birth and up until college. For the latter, housing is the single largest expenditure, followed by child care and education.

Expenses per child are said to decrease as families expand — families with three or more children spend “22 percent less per child than families with two children” since kids share rooms and clothes, food can be purchased in bulk and child care centers may offer discounts for siblings.

These numbers don’t include the cost of pregnancy, and families who send kids to college can expect to spend twice as much. Per kid.

The Cost to Raise a Child calculator can help you find out how much you can expect to spend based on your family size, income and geographic region.

Source: USDA

Top photo credit: iStockphoto

Bottom photo credit: USDA

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