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Patch's Poll: How Much Does It Cost To Raise Your Child?

Does $234,000 over 17 years sound about right? Because that’s the latest estimate the federal government is giving for the cost of raising a child born in 2011.

Raising a child nowadays is no financial breeze, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

A middle-income family with a child born in 2011 can expect to spend about $234,900 for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child until he or she is 17 years old, the USDA said.

According to the USDA’s latest annual report, the most recent cost estimates represent a 3.5 percent increase from the 2010 cost of raising a child.

But, it’s not the same cost for everyone. Here’s a breakdown:

  • A family earning less than $59,410 per year can expect to spend $169,080 on a child from birth to high school.
  • A family with an income between $59,410 and $102,870 can expect to spend $234,900 from birth to high school.
  • A family earning more than $102,870 can expect to spend $380,670 raising a child from birth to high school.

Note: The figures are in 2011 dollar amounts.

The USDA said the biggest expense hikes come in the form of transportation, childcare, education and food. The report is based on the federal government’s consumer expenditure survey.

“For the year 2011, annual child-rearing expenses per child for a middle-income, two-parent family ranged from $12,290 to $14,320, depending on the age of the child,” the USDA press release stated.

The cost is about 23 percent higher than it was in 1960, according to the Washington Post. (The newspaper published a blog with a handy pie chart breakdown).

For families raising children today, do these figures sound about right? Or do you think this is a gross overestimate? Or, is the federal government underestimating the cost and we can expect it to be even more expensive years down the road? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

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