October 22, 2012: Thanks to First 5 LA for alerting us to the USDA's new report on how much it costs to rear a child from birth through age 17.
The report, developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, noted that this figure represents a 3.5 percent increase from 2010. The largest child-related expenses came from transportation, child care, education and food compared to 2010. Other smaller increases included housing, clothing, health care and miscellaneous expenses.
The report revealed that family income affects child-rearing costs. Families with annual incomes below $59,410 can expect to spend about $169,080 on a child from birth to age 17. Middle-income families earning between $59,410 and $102,870 can expect to spend about $235,000 and parents earning more than $102,870 can expect to spend $389,670.
Housing represented the largest child-care related expense for middle-income families, comprising 30 percent, followed by child care/education at 18 percent and food at 16 percent.
The report also found that child-rearing expenses increased as children grew older and were highest for families in the urban Northeast, followed by the urban West and the urban Midwest. The cost of raising children was lowest in the urban South and rural areas.
The report only covers expenses from birth through age 17 and does not include the cost of a college education. Based on 2011-2012 figures, that would add another $28,500 for annual tuition and fees at a four-year private college, plus $10,089 annually for room and board, according to the College Board.
The USDA has released its annual report, "Expenditures on Children by Families," since 1960. In that year, the estimated the cost of raising a child was just over $25,000 for middle-income families. You may also use the agency's "cost of raising a child calculator" where parents can enter a child's age to obtain an estimate of costs