It’s likely to cost a middle-income family $222,360 to raise a child born in 2009, according to an annual study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Sadly, this estimate doesn’t include the price of college, which The College Board estimates to cost between $7,020 to $26,273 a year, as the study only measured the child’s related expenditures (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) up to the age of 17. It also doesn’t include the cost of pregnancy. Additionally, the $222,360 doesn’t account for inflation, which can drive up the total sum to $286,050.
The good news is the non-inflated figure doesn’t dramatically differ from estimates released last year when the Expenditures on Children’s by Families report said a child born in 2008 would cost $221,000. (The new estimate, representing less than a 1% increase, is actually the study’s smallest jump in more than a decade.)
Housing costs, estimated to be around $70,020 total, account for 31% of the $222,360 sum, followed by child care and education (17%) and food (16%). The study estimates that a middle-income, two-parent family will pay between $11,650 to $13,530 a year on their child. Those expenses increase as a child gets older.
However, encouragingly, the bigger a family is, the less each individual child costs. The report shows that families with three or more children spend 22%less per child than families with two children, mostly because they can share with one another and mom and dad can buy in bulk.
Additionally, the study correlates child-rearing expenses with household income. Essentially, the more a family makes, the more they are likely to spend. It also notes that a family’s geographic location causes costs to vary. Families in urban areas have to spend more than families in rural one. The South, for example, has the lowest child-rearing expenses.
Notably, when the study was first completed in 1960, a child cost its family $25,230 ($182,860 in 2009 dollars). The increase over the years is primarily due to a rise in the costs of child care and education.
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