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The astonishing costs of raising a child: By the numbers
When you add up all the Goldfish and Razor scooters, not to mention the cost of child care, the price tag for bringing a new life into the world is eye-popping
 
Raising a child will cost the average middle class family $14,000 per year.
Raising a child will cost the average middle class family $14,000 per year.
KidStock/Blend Images/Corbis

Finally, we have "an official price tag for parenthood," says Suzy Khimm at The Washington Post. This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the average family can expect to spend a cool quarter of a million dollars to raise a child — and that doesn't include the cost of college, nor the indeterminate post-graduation period of unemployment when Junior lives rent-free at home and constantly raids the fridge. While the USDA perfunctorily notes that the "considerable" cost of child-rearing "may be outweighed by the benefits of children," the price tag is enough to make some parents daydream of what they would do "with all that kid money," says Lindsay Cross at Mommyish. Here, a look at the numbers behind that drooling ball of chub:

$234,900
Amount a middle-income family typically spends raising a child through age 17, as of 2011

$389,670 
Amount that families earning more than $100,000 a year typically spend per child

$169,080 
Amount that families earning less than $60,000 typically spend per child

3.5
Percentage increase in kid-rearing costs from 2010, due to rising transportation, education, child care, and food expenses

$70,000 
Total cost of housing a child through age 17, the single-biggest expense

$191,723
Total cost of raising a child for a middle-income family in 1960, when adjusted for inflation

23 
Percentage increase since 1960

16
Percentage of total child-rearing expenses used on food in 2011

24
Percentage of total child-rearing expenses spent on food in 1960

18
Percentage of total child-rearing expenses funneled to child care and education in 2011

2
Percentage used on child care and education in 1960

Sources: ForbesMommyish, National Center for Education Statistics, The Washington Post 

 

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