Raising a Child Born in 2010 Costs More Than $200,000, Report Finds

With the economic recovery losing steam, couples may want to reconsider their plans to expand or start families after a new government report shows that raising children is getting more expensive.

A child born in 2010 will cost a middle-class family $226,920 to raise over 17 years, a 2 percent increase from the previous year, according to the USDA's annual report released Thursday. That estimate, which rises to $286,860 if projected inflation costs are considered, includes costs for food, shelter and other necessities.

The largest spending increases were on transportation, child care, education and health care while there were only small changes in housing, food, clothing and other expenses on a child.

The USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion has issued the report since 1960 and it is used by courts and state governments to determine guidelines for child support and foster care payments. The information is based on data from the federal government's consumer expenditure survey.

Child-rearing costs varied by family income and location. For example, a family earning less than $57,600 per year is expected to spend $163,440 on raising a child while one earning between $57,600 and $97,730 would likely spend $226,920. A family earning more than $99,730 will probably spend $377,040.

Families living in the urban Northeast had the highest expenses, followed by the urban West and Midwest. Families living in the urban South and rural areas have the lowest expenses.