Last week, a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that it costs $222,360 to raise a child, but parents who don’t trust this figure(or are looking for a more specific analysis )can consult the USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child Calculator. The Web tool, launched in conjunction with the USDA report Expenditures on Children by Families, will compare a user’s family information to what similar families spend a year and generate a case-by-case breakdown of estimated expenses.

Users are asked for their marital status, annual household income and region of residency. The site also asks how many children they have and what their ages are, since these factors contribute to the overall cost of a child. The generated budget breakdown estimates the cost of housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care and education. Parents can alter these projections if they know of the specific cost of a line item. The calculator will not compute the cost of children 18 years or older as college tuition an expenses were not included in the USDA’s study. 

The calculator is intended to help families “plan better for overall expenses including food, or to purchase adequate life insurance,” according to the information on the USDA’s Web site. The educational tool is not a recommendation to buy or invest in any particular product or security.

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