USDA announces cost of raising a child is growing up

Kids in a classroom

The USDA reports that the cost of raising kids is going up. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released its annual report on the cost of raising a child, and the agency found that kids are getting more expensive. It was found that the cost of raising one child to age 18 has risen by more than $40,000 after adjusting for inflation.

Pitter patter of little feet flattening the family pocketbook

The United States Department of Agriculture has just released its annual report on how much it costs to raise children, according to Today, and those bundles of joy are getting more expensive. The USDA estimates that for children born in 2010, the cost of raising them to age 17 will cost parents on average $226,920. However, the cost rises to $286,860 adjusted for projected future inflation. In 1960, the average cost of raising a child was $185,856 in 2010 dollars. Expenses for college are not included in that estimate, and “average cost” is a bit misleading. The average expenditure varied widely based on a number of factors, including income level of parents, location, single parent or two-parent household and number of children in the family.

Actual costs will vary

Annual spending on child-rearing varies, according to the USDA report, depending on multiple factors. Income level is a significant factor. Families with a gross income of $57,000 or less can expect to spend $8,460 to $9,630 per year. Families making between $57,000 and $99,000 will spend $11,800 to $13,830. Families making $99,000 or more are projected to spend $19,770 to $23,690 per year each child. These numbers are all based on 2010 spending patterns.

The USDA also observed that on average, parents with one child will spend 25 percent more per child than families with two children, and families with three or more children will spend 23 percent less per child than families with two children. Spending on children also varies by region; the urban Northeast is the most expensive. The cost of raising a child in the urban Northeast is estimated at $261,030 for the a two-parent, middle income family. For those in the urban West, the estimated cost of raising a child is $242, 760, compared with $222,630 in the Midwest, $212,610 in the urban South and $178,110 in rural areas. Single parents will spend an average of 7 percent less on their children.

Housing still the biggest expense

Housing still makes up the largest expense, as it was 31 percent of expenditures in 1960 and in 2010. However, childcare and education rose from 2 percent of expenditures in 1960 to 17 percent in 2010. Health care rose from 4 percent to 8 percent of spending, and miscellaneous spending rose from 8 percent to 12 percent. Food fell from 24 percent of spending in 1960 to 16 percent in 2010. The cost of clothing fell from 11 percent in 1960 to 6 percent in 2010. Americans may also be spending more than people in other countries. A recent article in the Herald Sun, an Australian newspaper, reports that the average Australian family will spend between $163,440 and $190,634 to raise a child.



USDA Report (PDF – Requires Adobe Reader)

Herald Sun


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