WASHINGTON — Expecting a baby? Congratulations! Better put plenty of money in your savings account.
The Department of Agriculture says the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610, or as much as almost $14,000 annually. That’s the average for a middle-income couple with two children. It’s a bit more expensive in urban parts of the country, and less so in rural areas.
The estimate released Monday is based on 2015 numbers, so a baby born this year is likely to cost even more. It’s a 3 percent increase from the prior year, a hike higher than inflation.
Since 1960, USDA has compiled the annual report to inform — and probably terrify — budget-preparing parents. State governments and courts also use the information to write child support and foster care guidelines. The main costs include housing, food, transportation, health care, education, clothing and other miscellaneous expenses.