Here's What It Costs to Raise a Child Today (You Might Want to Sit Down)

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If you've been thinking about having a baby in the near future, you might want to start saving! Sure, you probably already know that diapers, strollers, and even preschool don't come cheap, but when you tally it up, you may be in for serious sticker shock. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual "Cost of Raising a Child" report -- and the grand total of what rearing a child from birth to age 17 will set you back may cause you to reconsider and adopt a pet instead. We're kidding. But you will want to start saving.

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Are you sitting down? Families who had a child in 2015 will spend $233,610 (in 2015 dollars), according to economists at the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. That estimate is based on middle-income, married-couple families who have two children.

While it includes expenses such as food, housing, transportation, health care, clothing, childcare, and education, it does not contain any costs associated with pregnancy, adoption, childbirth, or college. 

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Thankfully, you don't need to cough up all that cash at once, and, if you have more than two children, you may see that cost drop per child. 

"There are significant economies of scale, with regards to children, sometimes referred to as the 'cheaper by the dozen effect.' As families increase in size, children may share a bedroom, clothing and toys can be reused, and food can be purchased in larger, more economical packages," economist Dr. Mark Lino explained in a press release regarding the report.

In fact, families with only one child spend 27 percent more on that child while families with three or more kids are able to spend 24 percent less per child. 

Not surprisingly, the report also found that raising kids in urban areas was the costliest, particularly in urban areas in the Northeast.  

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Anyone who's purchased milk or eggs lately knows these numbers are only surging higher. By just how much, you ask? This year's report revealed that the cost to raise a child increased by 3 percent compared to last year's report.
 
But as the commercial might put it, "The cost of raising a child? Close to a quarter of a million dollars. Being a parent and watching your child grow? Priceless."
 
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