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Costly Cuties: Cali Kids Cost Parents Nearly $300K

Thinking of having a new baby in the New Year? Learn why it could cost you more than you think.

Let's say 2012 was a great year for your family.

Your new baby celebrated her first birthday this year and was able—for the first time—to participate in holiday gift-opening with a bit of cute cognition of what was going on.

In any case, it was a good year—and the first in your countdown to spending an estimated $295,000 to raise that little one through high school.

What?

According to an annual United States Department of Agriculture report, a child born in 2011 will cost middle-income families about $295,000 to raise through high school—factoring in costs for housing, food, clothing, etc.

[See the full USDA Expenditures on Children by Families report here.]

Now, some people consider it crass to consider childbearing in terms of the costs, but many couples are pulling out the calculators for such decisions, according to a USA Today report earlier this week:

"It does give some people pause," says Dr. Joyce Cavanagh, a family economics specialist and associate professor with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in College Station. "Every year when this study comes out, there are people who think, 'Whoa, that's a lot of money. What are we getting ourselves into?'"

The $295,000 figure includes inflation (the tally is about $235,000 without) and applies to families with two kids and two parents making between about $59,000 and $102,000 each year. Families making more than that could spend closer to a half-million dollars per child through age 17, a larger cost mostly attributable to higher outlays for housing, childcare and education.

The costs shift depending on where the family lives, with those in the northeast spending the most followed by west coast families like your neighbors here in Santee.

And—in no surprise to Southern Californians—housing is the top cost for families. About 30 percent of child costs come from housing, according to the USDA report.

The USDA site also includes a Cost of Raising a Child Calculator to help you figure out how much you can expect to spend each year based on how many children you have (or hope to have), their ages and where you will be living.

LBV Collins December 31, 2012 at 02:45 PM
"[S]ome people consider it crass to consider childbearing in terms of the costs..." While this statement may be true, it shouldn't be. Deciding to have a baby and raise a child without considering how you're going to support the child is irresponsible and unfair to the child... and clearly indicates you should NOT have a baby.
Cyclist December 31, 2012 at 07:03 PM
LBV, you worry too much. Every unmarried, unemployed, on probabtion / parole couple should have unprotected sex every night because if they get pregnant, Obama / State of California will give them food,health care, money, clothing, free lunch AND breakfast at school, etc. And then those same kids will rob and steal and they will blame society for not giving them a fair chance.
LBV Collins December 31, 2012 at 07:16 PM
And, Cyclist, all those problems can be avoided by a simple $300 abortion procedure...
Shakeyconpanales December 31, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Gunning down kids is the same as aborting kids
Adrian December 31, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Cyclist, those kids WILL rob and steal? That's a pretty definitive statement.
Galactic Cannibal December 31, 2012 at 10:48 PM
According to an annual United States Department of Agriculture report, Who in their right mind would believe any American Gov, agency. These are the idiots who allowed a national debt to climb to $17 trillion. $17,000,000,000,000. 00 Still when we have very poorly educated masses what would you expect, They can't think beyond their next 3,000 calorie burger washed down with a sugar soda. And suck down watery beer like Bud lite. Its the American Dream...
LBV Collins December 31, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Humph... Curious, Shakeyconpanales. Those seem like two different options to me. Care to expand on why you think that, "Gunning down kids is the same as aborting kids?"
popeye January 01, 2013 at 02:03 AM
GC your setting the example of the poor educated mass. Now why would anyone listen to you..Dumb Dumb. Ha ha ha
Reverend Smith January 01, 2013 at 03:20 AM
I dare say, most parents I see in Lake Elsinore with 8 or so kids in tow at the Stater Brothers probably won't earn $295,000 at a job in their life. From the long wait while they produce their welfare cards and communicate through their six-year-old interpreter to the checker, it's more like - $295,000 - per kid.

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