Pricetag to raise a child -- $291,570, says U.S.

WASHINGTON Tue Aug 4, 2009 5:48pm EDT

A mother shops for food in a file photo. REUTERS/File

A mother shops for food in a file photo.

Credit: Reuters/File

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A middle-income family can expect to spend $291,570 including inflation to raise a child born in 2008 to adulthood, the government estimated on Tuesday, up slightly from the estimate made a year ago.

The estimate covers food, shelter and other necessities for a child to age 18, said the annual report by the Agriculture Department. The figure does not include the cost of childbirth or college.

Housing accounts for one-third of expenditures on children. Food accounts for 16 percent, the same as child care and education, said the Expenditures on Children by Families report.

Last year, the USDA estimated it would cost $269,040 to raise a child born in 2007 to age 18, including inflation. The USDA has made the estimates since 1960, when the estimated cost was $25,300. The department said it planned to have an updated "Cost of Raising a Child Calculator" on the Internet soon.

Annual spending for child-rearing ranges from $11,610 to $13,480 for a middle-income, two-parent family, the USDA said. Families with lower incomes will spend less and families with higher incomes spend more. Expenses are highest in cities in the U.S. Northeast, followed by urban areas of the West and Midwest. They are lowest in rural America and cities in the South.

(Reporting by Charles Abbott; editing by Todd Eastham)

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