Raising that little bundle of joy will come with a not-so-cute $204,060 price tag for middle-income families, according to a new government study. Factoring in inflation, the parents of a child born in 2007 can expect to spend $269,040 by the time that baby turns 18. Actual costs vary according to income and location, with the urban West the most expensive region to raise children and rural areas the least expensive. And, of course, the little darlings become more expensive as they get older.
Housing will be the single largest cost for most US families—up to 33% of the total cost of raising a child. The cost of providing food decreased from 24% to 17% of the total, but child care and education expenses increased from 2% to 12%. And forget life beyond 18—college costs weren't factored in. (Read more child-rearing stories.)