Average Cost to Raise a Child Now $233,610

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jan 9, 2017
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A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that the average cost of raising a child to the age of 17 is now $233,610, a figure that excludes later expenses such as college education. Overall this represents a $380 increase from the previous year, and a $208,381 difference from 1960's $25,229, when the USDA first began tracking the data (though adjusted for inflation, that that $25,229 is $202,020 if adjusted for inflation). 

The sum assumes a middle-income family making between $59,200 and $107,400, with two parents and two children, which the report considers standard. There can be wide expense variations for children in households not in this standard model, however. For instance, single parents making less than $59,200 a year, which encompasses 83 percent of single parent households, can expect to spend about $172,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17. The report noted that this is very close to what married couples with comparable income spend, but pointed out that this sum is a much higher proportion of overall expenses for single parents. 

The USDA determined the figure using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor to draw a sample of 23,297 married couple households and 7,030 single parent households. It looked at child-specific expenditure data for things like clothing, child care, and education, as well as a child's share of expenditures on things like food, transportation, housing, health care and other goods and services. 

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