A middle-income family may spend $234,900 to raise a child born in 2011 to the age of 18, a 3.5 percent increase in a year, according to a government report.
Expenses for child care and education, transportation and food represented the biggest jumps, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a report.
Adjusted for anticipated inflation, a child in a middle-class family would cost $295,560 to raise, the department said.
“It's not just the cost, it's the pressure,” said Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute based in New York. Competitive educational environments and an awareness of what it takes for children to succeed are prompting more spending, she said in a telephone interview.
The typical two-parent middle-income family spent $12,290 to $14,320 in 2011 on each child, the study found. Households that make less spend less, USDA researchers said. A family earning less than $59,410 a year will probably spend $169,080 in 2011 dollars to rear a child, while parents earning more than $102,870 may pay $389,670, according to the study.
“Families receive little support as they navigate” the child-rearing process, Galinsky said.
Housing accounts for the biggest portion of expenses, averaging 30 percent over 17 years, the USDA said. Child care and education costs at 18 percent and food, at 16 percent, are the next biggest costs. The estimates don't include college expenses.