For $235,000, you could indulge in a shiny new Ferrari—or raise a child for 17 years. A government report released yesterday found that a middle-income family with a child born last year will spend about that much in child-related expenses from birth through age 17. That's a 3.5% increase from 2010. The report declared housing the single largest expense, averaging about $70,500, or 30% of the total cost. No. 2 expense? Child care.
Families living in the urban Northeast tend to have the highest child-rearing expenses, followed by those in the urban West and the urban Midwest. Those living in the urban South and rural areas face the lowest costs. How to drop the per-child cost? Have more kids! The report found that families with three or more children spend 22% less per child than those with two children, thanks to things like hand-me-downs and shared bedrooms. The report considers middle-income parents to be those with an income between $59,400 and $102,870.