When we laid out those signs you’re mom material this morning, we neglected to mention you also need money; lots of it. According to the latest 2015 Expenditures on Children by Families report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), families will spend $233,610 raising a child from birth through the age of 17. So yeah, we’re not even talking about college.
The report estimates that a middle-income married-couple will spend between $12,350 and $13,900 annually raising a child, which gets us to that $233,000 figure. For families with lower incomes, the expected spend is $174,690, while families with higher incomes are expected to spend $372,210 from birth through age 17.
Here’s where the money goes: Housing (29 percent of the expense), food (18 percent), childcare/education (16 percent), transportation (15 percent), health care (9 percent), clothing (6 percent), miscellaneous necessities (7 percent). Note, that figure also doesn’t include costs related to pregnancy so that’s nine months of expenses to account for as well.
If you see multiple children in your future, the cost per child actually decreases, with the report finding families with one child spend 27 percent more on the only child compared to a child in a two-child family. Families with three or more children spend 24 percent less on each child.
“There are significant economies of scale, with regards to children, sometimes referred to as the ‘cheaper by the dozen effect,'” said Report author and USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion economist Mark Lino, PhD. “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.”
Child-rearing costs also vary by region, with expenses being the lowest in the urban Midwest and rural areas mostly due to lower housing expenditures. Overall, expenses related to raising a child were 24 percent lower in rural areas ($193,020) than in the urban Northeast where the cost is the highest ($253,770).
And although the cost of raising a child did go up from 2014, the increase was just 3 percent, or $380.