In Case You Didn't Know, Feds Say Raising A Child Is Expensive

How much does it cost to raise a child these days? The government says it costs $245,340. That's for a child born in 2013 and covers the period from birth to age 18. College not included.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the cost of bringing up baby.

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GREENE: There are new numbers out this morning telling us just how expensive it is to raise a kid. The government estimates that a middle-income family with a child born last year will ultimately spend more than $245,000 raising that child until they turn 18. Here's NPR's Pam Fessler.

PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: Every year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture produces a report on the cost of raising a child. And every year, there's some sticker shock. The latest is that a middle-income family should expect to spend between about $13,000 and $15,000 a year to raise a child born last year. Housing is the biggest expense, followed by childcare, education and food. USDA economist Mark Lino says teenagers are the most expensive.

MARK LINO: They have higher food cost. They have greater nutritional needs and higher transportation costs. These are the years when they start to drive. So you add them to your auto insurance, even maybe buy them an automobile.

FESSLER: Lino says since the government started doing the report in 1960, the cost of raising a child has risen 24 percent, adjusted for inflation. He says people are buying bigger, more expensive homes and healthcare costs have doubled.

LINO: And finally, relative to 1960, childcare has now become a major expenditure on children.

FESSLER: Back in 1960, it was hardly anything at all. One big expense not included in the estimates is the cost of college. The report only looks at a child's first 18 years. Still, if anyone is having second thoughts, Lino was quick to add this.

LINO: Although children can be very expensive, I think we need to keep in mind that they have many benefits.

FESSLER: Although he didn't elaborate. Pam Fessler, NPR News.

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