An annual report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimating the cost to raise a child increased by 2.6 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year.
The estimate taken from the USDA’s Expenditures on Children by Families shows the cost to raise a child born in 2012 from birth to age 17 is $241,080 ($301,970 adjusted for projected inflation). The report accounts for all of the necessities to raise a child in a middle-income family.
Costs include food, shelter, education, child care, health care and clothing.
Compared to the previous year, increases in child care, education, health care, and clothing pushed the annual expense estimate higher. According to the USDA, the 2012 increase is below the 4.4 percent average calculated with data from the past 52 years.
Marginal increases in housing, transportation and food limited the overall increase. Mark Lino, USDA economist says families in the urban Northeast spent the most on a child, whereas families in rural areas spent less due to low housing costs.