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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Percentage increase since 1960

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

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

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

Percentage used on child care and education in 1960

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