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Report: Raising a child costs $235,000

June 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A government report finds that it costs $235,000 to raise a child for 17 years.

A report issued by the Agriculture Department's Center of Nutrition Policy and Promotion found a family with a child born last year can expect to spend that amount. That represents a 3.5-percent increase from 2010.

The report said housing is the single largest expense, averaging about $70,500, or 30 percent of the total cost.

Families living in the urban Northeast tend to have the highest child-rearing expenses, followed by those in the urban West and the urban Midwest. Those living in the urban South and rural areas face the lowest costs.

The estimate also includes the cost of transportation, child care, education, food, clothing, health care and miscellaneous expenses.

The USDA has issued the report every year since 1960, when it estimated the cost of raising a child was just over $25,000 for middle-income families. That would be $191,720 today when adjusted for inflation.

Housing was also the largest expense in raising a child back in 1960. But the cost of child care for young children - negligible 50 years ago - is now the second largest expense as more moms work outside the home.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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