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The Cost of Raising a Child

USDA recently issued Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015. This report is also known as “The Cost of Raising a Child.” USDA has been tracking the cost of raising a child since 1960 and this analysis examines expenses by age of child, household income, budgetary component, and region of the country.

Based on the most recent data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey, in 2015, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income ($59,200-$107,400), two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in 2015 may expect to spend $233,610 ($284,570 if projected inflation costs are factored in*) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through age 17. This does not include the cost of a college education.

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Dr. Cathy Kling

Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. This month, we hear from Dr. Cathy Kling, a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a professor of economics at Iowa State University. She has served as the director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) since July 2013. She received a bachelor's degree in business and economics from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland. In 2015, she became the first female ISU faculty member named to the National Academy of Sciences. In her work at CARD, Kling is undertaking research to examine how agricultural practices affect water quality, wildlife, soil carbon content, and greenhouse gases.

How did you first become interested in studying economics? What drove you to explore agriculture in particular?

I took an undergraduate economics class as a sophomore in college. Within a few weeks I had changed my major to economics and by the end of the semester I had decided to go to graduate school to study more about this amazing field. I didn't begin my work in agricultural economics for many years, and my interest in agriculture stem largely from my primary interest in environmental issues.  I consider myself an environmental economist with strong interest in agricultural issues related to the environment.

How Much Will It Cost to Raise a Child?

Today, USDA released its annual Expenditures on Children by Families report, also known as the “Cost of Raising a Child,” showing that a middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 ($304,480 adjusted for projected inflation*) for food, housing, childcare and education, and other child-rearing expenses up to age 18. The costs by location are lower in the urban South ($230,610) and rural ($193,590) regions of the country. Families in the urban Northeast incurred the highest costs to raise a child ($282,480).

Let's Get Visual - a Peek Behind the Scenes of Our Infographics


Buying and selling, supply and demand, wholesale and retail—the market and all of the economic factors surrounding it are complex things to track and understand.  From the smallest farmer to the largest grocery store chain in the nation, all of American agriculture depends on the trends and prices within the marketplace.

At USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), we know the value of information and data.  For almost 100 years we’ve tracked pricing and market trend information in our USDA Market News reports, and now we’ve formed the Agricultural Analytics Division (AAD) to help further meet the informational and statistical needs of farmers and businesses across the country.

The AAD provides a wide range of econometric, statistical, and analytical expertise and services. From production numbers to prices and market trends, to international trade activities and environmental impact—they track it all.