It's no shocker that raising a child can put a strain on family finances. But seeing the total cost may leave you stunned.
The average cost of raising a child born in 2013 up until age 18 for a middle-income family in the U.S. is approximately $245,340 (or $304,480, adjusted for projected inflation), according to the latest annual "Cost of Raising A Child" report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The estimate is 1.8 percent higher than the previous year.
That equates to roughly $12,800 - $14,970 per child per year for a two-parent family with a median annual income between $61,530 and $106,540. The annual cost can vary based on factors like the child's age, the number of children in the family and the family's income and location.
“In today’s economy, it’s important to be prepared with as much information as possible when planning for the future,” said USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, per a written statement issued alongside the report. “In addition to giving families with children an indication of expenses they might want to be prepared for, the report is a critical resource for state governments in determining child support guidelines and foster care payments.”
Housing is the top expense, accounting for $73,600 or about 30 percent of the total cost of raising a child. The next-biggest expenses are child care and education (18 percent) and food (16 percent). Transportation, health care, clothing and miscellaneous expenses were also considered. The cost of college, pregnancy or other expenses after age 18 were not factored in.
The overall cost is a good deal higher than figures estimated in 1960 by the USDA's first "Cost of Raising A Child" report. Back then, "a middle-income family could have expected to spend $25,230 ($198,560 in 2013 dollars) to raise a child until the age of 18," according to the new report, which also notes that "[h]ealth care expenses for a child have doubled as a percentage of total child-rearing costs during that time."
The 1960 report found that housing was the largest expense for families, as it is today.
To estimate how much it will cost to raise your child, check out the USDA's "Cost of Raising a Child" calculator.