A new report by the United States Department of Agriculture found that the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 continues to increase.

According to the data, on average it costs $245,340 dollars to raise a child born in 2013 to the age of 18, and that doesn’t include college tuition. If parents want to help their child through college they can tack on $18,390 a year for a public university and $40,920 a year for a private school.

The projected costs rose 1.8 percent compared to the 2012 estimate. Researchers also noted that total costs fluctuate depending on geographical location and whether or not a family lives in a rural or urban center. For example, an average family living in the urban Northeast can expect to pay almost $282,500 to raise a child, while those in the rural South have average expenses of about $193,500.

In their report, a pie chart documents what type of expenses make up the total cost of raising a child. Housing is the biggest expense, making up 30 percent of total expenses, followed  by child care and education (18 percent), food (16 percent) and transportation (14 percent).

Child Care and Support

When comparing the findings to data collected in the 1960’s, comparably, expense percentages haven’t changed much. Back in 1960, housing made up 31 percent of total expenses, food made up 24 percent, and transportation accounted for 16 percent, meaning that none of those percentages have fluctuated by more than eight percent in 53 years.

Interestingly, the piece of the pie that has grown the most over the years is costs associated with child care and education. Back in 1960, families could expect to spend about two percent of their annual income on childcare expenses, but that number has ballooned to 18 percent in 2013.

This increase is one reason why child support functions the way that it does. As the cost of raising a child increases, so too will child support obligations, especially if one partner was the breadwinner while the other was a stay at home parent. If that parent is now tasked with getting back into the workforce after many years, good work can be tough to come by, and daycare costs are on the rise. Even if the parent finds a job, their monthly budget may be minuscule after accounting for daycare costs, food and clothing for their child, and routine clinic visits.

These rising costs are a primary reason why you should strongly consider hiring an attorney for your divorce. They can help you through the process and ensure you get the support you need to raise your child while you get accustomed to life after a divorce. If you have any questions about child support, including how to file, please don’t hesitate to contact us.