The US Department of Agriculture has published its 2009 report Expenditures on Children by Families. This report breaks down the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 according to categories such as: husband-wife or single parent families; income level; number and age of children; geographical region; and other factors. Since the study began in 1960 parenting has become more expensive with child expenditures increasing by 22% in real terms. Overall, middle-income, married parents with two children spent between $11,650 and $13,530 annually to raise a child. Child-related housing expenses, including the cost of providing an extra bedroom, constituted the largest child-related expense across income levels. This was followed by child care and education costs for high and middle income families (when applicable). For low-income families, food costs represented the second largest expenditure. Regionally, families located in the northeast spend the most on child-related expenditures while those in rural and southern areas spend the least. Finally, single parents spend approximately 7% less on their children than husband wife pairs, although this represents a larger share of their total income. So what does it cost to raise a child from birth to age 17? Well, for those families that welcomed a second child in 2009, families in the low income group can anticipate spending $205,960 to raise the child; the middle income group will spend approximately $286,050 to accomplish this task; and the high income group will spend about $475,680 on the child until he or she reaches 17.US Dept of Agriculture vs MN Child Support Calculator.
I’ve attached a sample comparison that I ran on the US Department of Agriculture Calculator and I ran the same on the MN Child Support Calculator. My assumptions were: 2 children, one age 9 and another age 5. Total family income: $76,895, with each parent earning 1/2 of that amount. The results are interesting because the US Department of Agriculture calculator result was $23,590 per year or $1,965 per month vs. the MN Child Support calculator result: $643 per month (plus $68 for the Obligor’s half of medical insurance premium) or $7,716 per year. Of course, MN uses a cost sharing calculation, so the person receiving child support is supposed to be providing part of the support also. But even if I double the child support amount, the number doesn’t reach the amount provided by the US Department of Agriculture estimate.