And the cost estimate DOESN'T include college...
A child born in 2009 will cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars, or about $222,360, to raise to maturity, up a little less than 1% from 2008, the Agriculture Department said Wednesday in its annual report on the average cost of raising a child. (The department runs the survey to help courts and state governments set child-support guidelines.) Expenses for child care, education and health care rose the most compared with 2008, while the cost of transportation for a child actually fell, the department said. Annual child-rearing expenses for the average middle-income, two-parent family range from $11,650 to $13,530, depending on the age of the child, the department says.
Child care accounts for 17% of the total spending, and education for 16% of the total. The cost of housing makes up nearly one-third of the total; this is gauged by the average cost of an additional bedroom. But the tally excludes any spending on kids over age 17, so it doesn't include one of the biggest and fastest-growing single financial outlays many parents make: the cost of sending your child through college. Higher-education costs aren't included, the department says.