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The Cost to Raise a Child Just Went Up (Again)

Cost to raise a child in 2013 just went up
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

According to a new report from the Agriculture Department released on Monday, the cost of having a kid born in 2013 to a middle-income family is $245,340. Now before your head totally pops off, that figure does span from birth to 18 years. But let's be real here — it doesn't even factor in the college years, which are going to cost you a pretty penny (not to mention a lot of sleepless nights).

Overall, the numbers rose 1.8% since the USDA's last report in 2012, and found housing to be the largest expense of all. On average, keeping a roof over your kid's head until they fly the nest will cost you a cool $73,600. (That translates to 30% of the total cost of raising a child for 18 years.)

Next on the list was child care and education, which took up about 18% of the costs, while the rest went to food, transportation, health, car, clothing, and other miscellaneous expenses.

The underlying message here? Save, save, save.

"In today's economy, it's important to be prepared with as much information as possible when planning for the future," said Kevin Concannon, the USDA's food, nutrition and consumer services undersecretary.

Of course, the costs differ depending on where exactly you choose to raise your child. Parents who tend to spend the most live in the Northeast. They'll sign away $282,480 by the time their kid reaches 18. (Gulp.) In comparison, parents out West throw down around $261,330, while the Midwest are set back about $240,570. It seems the "lucky" winners in this equation tend to be Southern families, who pay around $230,610 for every child.

Costs also change depending on the individual family's income. Parents who take in less than $61,530 a year might only spend about $176,550 on their kid. But homes earning $106,540 or more? Each kid could come with a price tag of $407,820.

The annual report by the USDA has been making our heads explode since it was first published in 1960. Back then, a middle-income family would have spent about $25,230 over the course of their child's first 18 years. To put it in perspective, that would $198,560 in 2013. (What a bargain!)

But surprisingly, the USDA said in their statement that the more children a family has, the more their costs per child decline. In fact, a family with three or more kids might spend 22% less on each child then families with just two children. The secret, of course, is all in the beauty of the "hand-me-down." Parents of multiple kids often pass down clothes and toys, while buying food in bulk at more wallet-friendly prices.

Are you surprised at all by these numbers?

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