WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) — New parents beware: Your little angel is going to cost you a bundle.
A middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 for food, shelter and other expenses up to age 18, an increase of 1.8 percent from 2012, the Agriculture Department said Monday.
The report, issued annually by the USDA since 1960, found housing was the single-biggest expense, averaging about $73,600 or 30% of the total cost of raising a child, followed by child care/education at 18 percent.
The remainder went to food, transportation, health care, clothing and miscellaneous expenses during the same period.
"In today's economy, it's important to be prepared with as much information as possible when planning for the future," Kevin Concannon, USDA's food, nutrition and consumer services undersecretary, said in a statement.
The report found geographic variations in the cost of raising a child. They were the highest in the urban Northeast at $282,480, followed by the urban West at $261,330 and the urban Midwest at $240,570, which includes Iowa and South Dakota. The urban South came in the lowest at $230,610 for each child.
Child care costs have soared dramatically since the first report 53 years ago. Back then, a middle-income family could have expected to spend $25,230 ($198,560 in 2013 dollars) to raise a child until the age of 18. Housing was the top cost for parents back then, too.
The USDA report said that as families have more children, their costs decline.
A family with three or more children can spend 22 percent less per child than those with two children, a result of kids sharing toys and clothes and parents purchasing food in larger and more economical amounts.
The study noted that families can expect to spend more as their income increases. A family earning less than $61,530 can expect to spend $176,550 on a child while homes earning more than $106,540 can expect to spend $407,820. Households in the lowest group spent 25 percent of their before-tax income on a child, the middle 16 percent and those in the highest group 12 percent.