The cost of raising a child to adulthood in the United States is estimated at $233,610, and that's without including the annual cost of college.
The annual 'Cost of Raising a Child' report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the cost of raising a child from birth through the age of 17 to be a whopping $233,610 which amounts to $14,000 annually. This is the average for a middle-income married-couple families with two children. The USDA estimates that families with lower incomes will spend a total of $174,690, and families with higher incomes will spend a total of $372,210.
These estimates released Monday are based on 2015 numbers which means that raising a child born this year will likely cost even more. The report found child-rearing expenditures to have increased by 3 percent since 2014 which is a hike higher than inflation.
The USDA has compiled this report each year since 1960. Economists working at the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion take into account expenses including food, housing, transportation, health care, clothing, child care and education to arrive at the total cost. The cost does not factor in the cost of college tuition or costs associated with pregnancy, adoption and childbirth, reports the Huffington Post.
There were also a few surprise discoveries included in this year's report.
Teenagers, Not Toddlers, Are More Expensive
The cost of raising newborn babies and toddlers is expected to be more than that of teenagers, but that is not the case. Despite the need for diapers, baby gear, and other necessities, a child between 0 and 2 years of age costs $12,680 annually while a teenager between 15 and 17 years of age costs around $13,900 annually. This difference is attributed to higher transportation and food costs as a child grows older.
More Kids Means Lower Costs
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the USDA report says that families with three or more children spend less per child than families with one or two children.
"As families increase in size, children may share a bedroom, clothing and toys can be reused, and food can be purchased in larger, more economical packages," economist Dr. Mark Lino said in a press release about the report.
This results in them spending an average of 24 percent less per child when compared with smaller families. In contrast, one-child households spend an average of 27 percent more on the single child.