March 24, 2008 / 7:38 PM / 11 years ago

Raising that '07 baby will cost $204,060 in U.S.

Two young boys end the weekend with their family during the sunset hours on Magic Island in Ala Moana Park in Honolulu, July 20, 2003. REUTERS/Lucy Pemoni

WASHINGTON (Reuters Life!) - Middle-income families can expect to spend $204,060 on feeding, housing and schooling a child born in 2007 until his or her 18th birthday, the U.S. government reported on Monday.

Child care and education costs will represent a larger share of costs for raising the ‘07 baby through adulthood than they have in the past, the Agriculture Department said in an annual study on child-rearing costs.

“The cost of providing food decreased from 24 percent to 17 percent of total child-rearing costs, while child care and education expenses increased from 2 percent to 12 percent,” the department said.

Housing will be the single largest cost for U.S. families — making up 33 to 27 percent of total expenses across income groups, USDA said.

Factoring in inflation, the grand total for middle-income families comes to $269,040, USDA said. Total costs also include transportation, health care, and other necessities.

Child-rearing costs have soared since USDA began conducting its annual study in 1960, and can vary dramatically according to a family’s income.

Families making less than $45,800 before taxes can expect to spend less, $148,320 in real terms over the course of their child’s first 17 years. Those on the other end of the income spectrum, making more than $77,100 a year, will spend $298,680 in 2007 dollars on raising their ‘07 child.

Even though the study does not include the cost of college, USDA found that children get more expensive as they get older. Teenagers were the most costly.

The department also noted that child-rearing costs are the greatest in the urban West, and lowest in the urban Midwest and rural areas across the country.

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