A child born in 2013 will cost a middle-income American family an average of $245,340 until he or she becomes an adult, with families living in the Northeast taking on a greater burden, according to a report out today. Those costs—food, housing, childcare, and education—rose 1.8% over the previous year, the Agriculture Department's new "Expenditures on Children and Families" report said. As in the past, families in the urban Northeast will spend more than families in the urban South and rural parts of the US, or roughly $282,480. When adjusting for projected inflation, the report found that a child born last year could cost a middle-income family an average of about $304,480.
Housing costs remain the greatest child-rearing expense, as they did when the reports started in the 1960s, although current-day costs like childcare were negligible back then. For middle-income families, the USDA found, housing expenses made up roughly 30% of the total cost of raising a child. Child care and education were the second-largest expenses, at 18%, followed by food at 16%. Expenses per child decrease when a family has more children, the report found, as families with three or more children spend 22% less per child than families with two children. That's because more children share bedrooms, clothing, and toys, and food can be purchased in larger, bulk quantities. (Read more children stories.)