$226,920.00 to Raise a Child (excluding college)


How much to raise a child today you ask? Well, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families, finding that an average middle-income family* with a child born in 2010 can expect to spend about $226,920.00 ($286,860.00 given an estimated annual inflation of 2.6 percent factored in) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child over the next 17 years.

The good news is that this represents only a 2 percent increase compared to 2009. Which according to economist Mark Lino, who who oversees the annual report and serves as the Senior Economist for the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, is below the average increase for the past 10 years which has been 3.2 percent. Lino attribute the lower increase due to the cost of housing and clothing declining a bit. “The economy has taken a downturn so people are cutting back on some items. They may not be buying expensive sneakers,” Lino said. (Nike take note?)

This is the 50th year the USDA has issued its annual report on the cost of raising a child. FYI: In 1960, the first year the report was issued, a middle-income family could have expected to spend $25,230 ($185,856 in 2010 dollars) to raise a child through age seventeen.

*Nationally, for this report the USDA defines an “average middle-income family” as earning between $57,600.00 to $99,730.00 in annual before-tax household income. The report covers expenditures for major budgetary items estimated in this study consisting of any direct parental expenses made on children through age 17. These expenditures exclude college costs and other parental expenses on children after age 17.

UPDATE: Last reported in 2015, the price was $233,610 still not including college.

Fran Kick

FRAN KICK works with corporate and education organizations, groups, and associations that want to develop better leaders and smarter followers for faster long-term results. As an author, educational consultant, and professional speaker, he always shares relevant research, real-world insights, and actionable ideas YOU can implement to motivate yourself. So you can Kick It In and Take the Lead at work, in school, at home, and in life!