It takes a village to raise a child. That and a lot of money. The United States Department of Agriculture earlier this week said it costs about $226,920 to raise a child born in 2010 to the age of 18.
If you add inflation, it’s $286,860 for the cost of food, shelter and other necessities.
The USDA issues its annual Expenditures on Children by Families report every year and has done so since 1960. Back then, it cost a middle-income family $25,230 to raise a child until age 18. That’s $185,856 in 2010 dollars, according to USDA figures.
I used a handy but American cost-of-raising-a-child calculator, accessible by clicking here, to calculate the cost of raising a child born in 2006 in a rural area in a two-parent family that earns $56,300 to $98,500 per year.
Assuming the kid eventually goes to college, the cost is $248,900.
That’s higher than the USDA-calculated average, but the calculator is mum on the reasons why. In rural areas, maybe it’s the added costs of transportation to school, church or recreational activities, but it’s hard to say.
Expenses per child decrease as a family has more children, so that’s one good reason to make sure your child is not an only. The USDA says families with three or more children spend 22 percent less per child than families with two children, because of all the sharing opportunities available. Not to mention family discounts.
Included in the figuring are the costs of housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care and education, miscellaneous items like entertainment, and higher education.
Rural families might have reduced expenses for food and possibly child care, depending on the situation.
But how does that stack up to costs in Canada?
On the Canadian Finance Blog, written by Tom Drake, I found estimates of $182,199 to raise a child to age 18. He says that covers all expenses, not including further education. And there are a few tax benefits available that could reduce the total further.
Aren’t all you parents out there glad that you live in Canada?