Raising a Child Now Costs Over $233,000
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the cost of raising a child to the age of 17 is up to $233,610, a cost increase of 3 percent since the last report was released in August 2014.
Based on information from 2015, the report breaks the cost into the seven categories of food (18%), housing (29%, child care and education (16%), transportation (15%), health care (9%), clothing (6%), and a miscellaneous folder (7%). It does not include costs associated with pregnancy or college.
“This report, which we have produced for 55 years, gives families a greater awareness of the expenses they are likely to face, and serves as a valuable tool for financial planning and educational programs, as well as courts and state governments,” said Kevin Concannon in the official press release.
Broken down per year, the average middle-income married-couple family spends between $12,350 and $13,900. The numbers vary considerably based on income levels, as well as location. Families living in the urban-Midwest and rural areas generally had the lowest costs, while expenditures were highest in the urban Northeast, urban West, and urban South.
Another major factor was the number of children per family. Parents spend 27 percent more on an only child compared to a child in a two-child family. In addition, families with three or more children spend 24 percent less on each child.
“There are significant economies of scale, with regards to children, sometimes referred to as the ‘cheaper by the dozen effect,’” said Dr. Mark Lino, who authored the report. “As families increase in size, children may share a bedroom, clothing and toys can be reused, and food can be purchased in larger, more economical packages.”