Congratulations on Your New Baby; Now, Start Raising $245,340


The pace of increasing costs has slowed down a bit, but the cost of raising a child in the United States is still astronomical—$245,340—according to new government figures released this morning.

In its annual "Cost of Raising a Child" report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture totaled food, housing, education, child care and other essentials needed in the first 18 years of a child's life. And adjusted for inflation, the cost is closer to $305,000. Costs associated with pregnancy or expenses after the age of 18, such as college, weren't included.

The USDA began publishing the report in 1960, when a middle-income family could have expected to spend $25,230 on a child.

"Middle income" is defined as parents with a combined annual income between $61,530 and $106,540.

And the study indicates that expenses per child fall when there are three of more children. Families with three or more kids spend about 22 percent less than families with two children, according to the study.

The urban Northeast had the highest costs, followed by the West and Midwest. Households in the urban South and rural areas spent less. Housing was the biggest expense for all income groups.