Who Would Have Thought? Children are Expensive

The USDA estimates that a middle-class family will spend $222,360 to raise a child born in 2009 to age 18
From Bloomberg Business Week:

U.S. Child Born in 2009 May Cost $222,360 to Raise

By Alan Bjerga

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- A middle-income family may spend $222,360 to raise a child born in 2009 to the age of 18, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study.

The estimate is less than a 1 percent increase from 2008 and the smallest jump in a decade, which likely reflects the state of the economy, the USDA said today. Increases in child care, education and health services were largely offset by a decline in transportation, the study showed.

The typical two-parent family spent from $11,650 to $13,530 on each child last year, the study shows. Households that make less, spend less, USDA researchers said. A family earning less than $56,670 a year is likely to spend $160,410 in 2009 dollars to rear a child, while parents earning more than $98,120 may pay $369,360, according to the study.

“Child-rearing expenses vary considerably by household- income level,” USDA analyst Mark Lino wrote in the report.

Expenses are highest for children raised in the urban Northeast, followed by cities in the West and Midwest, the USDA said. Housing accounts for the biggest portion of expenses, averaging 31 percent over 17 years, the USDA said. Child care and education average 17 percent, with food costs at 16 percent. The cost estimates don’t include college expenses.

The study provides a way for courts and government agencies to estimate child-support costs, the USDA said. The projections have been published each year since 1960.