Raising a Child Sees $8,000 Increase for 2011

The United States Department of Agriculture has been tracking the cost of raising a child since 1960. The costs include food, shelter and other necessities to raise a child for 17 years; the cost does not include inflation. In their first recorded year, the agency estimated the cost of raising children to be $25,000 ($192,000 if adjusted for inflation). Now, they say that middle-income families can expect to spend $235,000.

family playing games

According to the USDA, the cost for 2011 is up by $8,000 from 2010 – that’s an increase of 3.5% in just one year. Why such an increase? The agency says that in that one year alone, costs for transportation, education, food and child care all increased drastically for middle-income families. Costs for health care, housing, and clothing increased as well, but thankfully, at a more gradual pace than other costs.

The cost is not universal across the board, however. Low-income families can expect to spend less – $169,000. And higher income families can expect to spend more – roughly $390,000.

It’s interesting to see the full cost of raising a child broken down, isn’t it? I don’t really think about the lifetime costs of raising my children; they just seem to kind of blend in with our everyday life. I’m also intrigued by the differences between costs among different income levels.

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About the author


Kate Givans is a wife and a mother of five—four sons (one with autism) and a daughter. She’s an advocate for breastfeeding, women’s rights, against domestic violence, and equality for all. When not writing—be it creating her next romance novel or here on Growing Your Baby—Kate can be found discussing humanitarian issues, animal rights, eco-awareness, food, parenting, and her favorite books and shows on Twitter or Facebook. Laundry is the bane of her existence, but armed with a cup of coffee, she sometimes she gets it done.

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