What’s it cost to raise a child? There’s a calculator for that

This baby is riding in the shopping cart correctly with his seat belt on. Good job! Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.
What’s the cost of this baby reaching his 17th birthday? Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual report “Expenditures on Children by Family.” It looked at 2015 numbers. So, if you have a child born in 2015, you should expect to spend (drumroll please)¬†$233,610 through their 17th year — and that doesn’t include saving for college (because, of course, you’ve been doing that diligently).

That was the average. Of course, the larger your income, the more you will likely spend and if you live in the Northeast and are married with an income above $107,000, good luck!

Housing was the biggest expense taking up about 26 percent to 33 percent of the total expenses.

The report also qualifies itself with this statement at the end: Expenses vary considerably by household income level and composition. The large variation in expenditures on children underscores that there is not a standard cost to raise a child in the United States. The direct and indirect costs of raising children are considerable, absorbing a major share of the household budget.

But if you want to have some fun, check out the USDA’s Estimated Cost Calculator. We put in our two kids, one who is 13 and one who is just shy of 16, our income and our state. According to the USDA, we should expect to spend $23,090 a year for the first kid and $20,740 for the second kid (because I guess we don’t love her as much?). It calculates housing, food, transportation, education, clothing health care and other.

I also put in numbers for if my children were infant and 3 years old. Then I would be only spending $17,690 on the infant and $17,730 on the 3-year-old. It does confirm my long-held belief that children, do indeed get more expensive with each passing year. Though how I would only be spending $17,690 and be buying diapers is a mystery to me.

I had to wonder: if the USDA thinks that I’m only spending $43,830 a year on my children, where did it think the rest of my money was going?



Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at austin360.com/raisingaustin. She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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