Cost for middle-income parents to raise child nears $230,000

Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:02pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American middle-income parents with a child born in 2010 can expect to spend $226,920 over the next 17 years, according to a report released on Friday.

The United States Department of Agriculture's annual "Expenditures on Children by Families" report, in which the figure was published, is used as a guide in setting child-support and foster-care payments.

The latest figure for raising a child is up two percent from 2009, largely because of higher costs in transportation, child care, education, and healthcare, a USDA statement said.

The report also evaluates other household expenditures and child-rearing expenses such as housing, food, and clothing.

For lower-income families, those earning less than $57,600 a year, parents can expect to spend a total of $163,440 through the time the child finishes high school. Families earning over $100,000 are more likely to spend around $377,000.

Housing is consistently the largest expense in raising a child, claiming 31 percent of the total that middle-income families can expect to pay. The next biggest expense is child-care and education, followed by food.

Geographically, the cost to raise a child can differ by as much as $2,500 per year, with the most expensive region being the urban Northeast, and the least expensive being the rural South.

When the USDA first started to publish this report in 1960, middle-income families could expect to pay $185,856 in 2010 dollars.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)

<p>A man pushes a stroller as a security guard walks past the "Urban Light" installation by artist Chris Burden at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus February 7, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>