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On average, how much does it cost to raise a child to the age of 18?


There’s average, and then there’s average. Even if you’re trying just to get a ballpark figure, it depends on where your ballpark is located, what kind of seats you have and whether you’re attending the game alone or with someone else. A survey compiled in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from Labor Department data estimated that a two-parent family with two children living in Anywhere U.S.A. and bringing in average annual earnings in a range between $59,410 and $102,870 will spend $234,900 to raise each child from birth to 18. That total includes expenditures for housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care and, depending on age, child care or education.

Couples in higher- and lower-income groups will spend proportionately more or less, respectively, raising their kids, and the costs are slightly higher for single-parent households, due mainly to added spending per person on health and housing. It’s hard to tell exactly how much more it costs single parents because the survey uses different income ranges, eliminating the opportunity to make like-for-like comparisons. Great variations in costs exist from one region of the country to another, too, and between urban and rural areas.

-Conrad de Aenlle