Kids Priceless But Not Cheap

08.11.09 New U.S. study puts a $221,190 price tag on raising a child


The price tag for raising a child in the U.S. just went up—all the way to $221,190, The Associated Press reports. And that doesn't include college.

A new Department of Agriculture study says that a middle-income family with a child born in 2008 will spend an average of almost a quarter of a million dollars to raise that child until the age of 18. The typical two-parent family in the $57,000-$99,000 annual income bracket coughed up anywhere between $11,610 to $13,480 per child in 2008.

Housing was the top single expense, followed by food and costs for child care and education, according to the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion report. The study also cites that households that make less, spend less—and vice versa. Two-parent families earning less than $57,000 annual income will spend about $160,000; families with higher incomes will use up about $367,000.

Expenses were the highest for families in the Northeast, followed by cities in the West and Midwest. Families in the South and in rural areas had the lowest child-rearing expenses.

In these tough economic times, it also means fewer babies, The Associated Press reports. U.S. births fell in 2008 for the first time since the decade began, and experts are blaming the economy. The U.S. birth rate in 2008 dropped by nearly 2 percent after breaking a 50-year record high in 2007.

Sure, we're all tightening our belts and scrimping and saving a bit more these days. But remember, you can have a baby without breaking the bank. Check out our Babynomics tips for practical solutions for everything from buying baby gear to saving for college.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.