WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) -- Raising a child from birth to age 17 cost middle-income parents $222,360 last year amid rising childcare and education expenses, the U.S. government reported.
The Department of Agriculture's annual Expenditures on Children and Families report provides a 50-year view of the child-rearing expenditures. From 1960 through 2009, adjusting for inflation, the cost of raising a child climbed 22 percent.
The report, based on a married couple's cost of raising a child in a two-child, middle-income family, found annual expenses ranged from $11,650 to $13,530 a year, depending on the cld's age, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Childcare and education expenses climbed from 2 percent to 17 percent of child-rearing costs, the report found. Housing topped all other family costs in 1960 and 2009, while the proportion of a family's income spent on housing rose.
Food also has placed among the biggest expenses since 1960 but the proportion of family income spent on food has dropped, in part because of changes in agriculture and increased competition. The report found clothing and miscellaneous expenses for a child decreased as a proportion of household spending.
Because of the high costs of raising a child and the sluggish economy, many people are wondering whether they should put off plans to have children, the Tribune said.
Lindsay Murphy told the newspaper she was eight months pregnant when she got laid off from her financial services job in Skokie, Ill., and she and her partner have discussed having another child.
"While we want another child and very much want our children to be close in age, we just can't get comfortable with the additional expense in light of the economy," said Murphy, of Wilmette, Ill.