It will cost a middle-income family about $241,080 to raise a baby born in 2012 from birth to age 18, according to an annual report by the US Department of Agriculture. The figure rises to $301,970 when adjusted for inflation and represents a 2.6 percent increase from 2011, the report said.
The costs include child care, education, health care, housing, and food. It’s more expensive to raise a child in the Northeast, where the report said it costs $277,170 overall to raise a child.
The USDA first published a report about the cost of child rearing in 1960 when a middle-income family could have expected to spend $25,230 to raise a child – the equivalent of $195,690 in 2012 dollars.
Here’s a look at how those costs break down.
Housing costs are the single largest expenditure on a child, averaging $71,820 or 30 percent of the total cost. For families raising children in the Northeast, the average housing costs are $85,500, the report said.
Child care and education
Child care and education accounts for 18 percent of the cost of raising a child, or $42,810, the report said. That report increases to $64,140 for families raising children in the Northeast. These figures do not include the cost of paying for a child’s college education.
Families spend an average of $34,710 on transportation. That accounts for 14 percent of the total cost to raise a child. In the Northeast, the cost is $33,780, the report said.
Spending on health care works out to $19,680 or 8 percent of the overall cost of raising a child. In the Northeast, the sum is $17,760, the report said.
Total spending on food adds up to $38,520 or 16 percent of the cost of raising a child. The cost works out to $40,350 in the Northeast.
The report categorizes miscellaneous expenses as money spent on personal care items, entertainment, and reading materials. Families overall spend $19,560 on these expenses or 8 percent of the total amount it takes to raise a child.That figure rises slightly in the Northeast to $19,860.
Clothing accounts for 6 percent of the total cost of raising a child or $13,980. Families who live in the Northeast pay an average of $15,780.
The report does not cover estimated costs for a child’s college education. For the 2012-2013 school year, the average annual tuition, fee, room, and board charges at a four-year public school was $17,860, according to a report by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. The figure is $39,518 for a four-year private school.
Calculate your costs
The USDA offers an online tool for calculating how much it will cost to raise children based on the 2012 Expenditures on Children by Families report. You can find the tool here.