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How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Child Born In 2012?

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says an average family will spend an estimated $241,080 over 17 years -- $301,970 adjusted for projected inflation -- to raise a child born in 2012. The number goes up almost every year, but this year’s increase of 2.6 percent is less than the previous year’s increase of 4.6 percent.

The annual Expenditures on Children by Families report shows what a middle-income family can expect to spend for food, shelter, child care, education, health care, and clothing over a child’s lifetime.

Housing is the largest portion of that money -- about 30 percent. Child care and education are the next most costly items, taking about 18 percent of the increase, followed by food and transportation.
The total cost of child rearing is highest in the urban Northeast, lower in the urban South, including Texas, and the lowest in rural areas.

The annual report is used nationally for states to determine child support and foster care guidelines. The numbers listed in the report are for raising a child to the age of 18, and they do not include the cost of college.