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Overall cost of raising a child may surprise some

A couple of weeks back, we discussed child care costs and some of the ways to address such costs. These costs, however, are only just one of the costs that can go with raising kids. Child-raising costs can be of many different types and, when put all together, they can be rather astronomical.

Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture released a report regarding how much raising a child, on average, costs over the course of a kid's childhood. Some might be surprised by how high the figure is.

The report estimates that the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 when it comes to children born to middle-income families in 2013 will be $245,340. This estimated cost was 1.8 percent higher than the estimated cost for kids born in 2012.

Estimated child-raising cost was not uniform across geographies, it varied from region to region. The highest regional estimated cost was $282,480 per child, which belonged to the urban Northeast. The lowest was $230,610 per child, which belonged to the urban South.

Some of the expenses included in the child-raising cost estimate were expenses for housing, transportation, food, healthcare, education, clothing and child care.

Sometimes, people view the costs associated with a child as a somewhat abstract thing. As this study underscores, however, these costs are very real and it is not impossible to attach real numbers to them. What the true monetary cost of raising a child is for a given family can vary significantly given the specifics of the family. One instance in which it can be very important for a family to get a strong idea of what this true cost is is when parents get divorced and are in talks over what will be done in regards to child support. This is because having an idea of this true cost can be a big help when trying to figure out what child support arrangement would be fair and would cover all of a child's needs.

Source: USA Today, "$245,340: Cost of raising a child born in 2013," Christopher Doering, Aug. 18, 2014

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