The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual report on the cost of raising a child this week.

The report showed that for a child born in 2012, a middle-income family will spend about $241,080 for food, shelter and other necessities over the next 17 years.

That marks an increase of 2.6 percent increase from 2011, which is actually lower than the annual average increase of 4.4 percent since 1960.

The USDA said this may be because more families are cost conscious as the economy continues to recover.

Full report and resources: Expenditures on Children by Families

In 1960, when the first USDA report was issued, a middle-income family was expected to spend $25,230 raising a child, or $195,690 in 2012 dollars.

Housing costs were the largest expense then and now. However, health care costs have more than doubled as a percentage of total child-rearing expenditures.

How much a family spends varies based on their income bracket as well as the child's age. For 2012, annual child-rearing expenses ranged on average from $12,600 to $14,700 per child for a middle-income, two-parent family depending on the age of the child.

The USDA reports that a family earning less than $60,640 per year is expected to spend $173,490 for a child born in 2012 through high school. At the other end of the spectrum, a family earning more than $105,000 will spend close to $400,000.

A family's geographic location impacts their total expenditures, according to the report.

Related link:Calculate your family's costs

Families living in urban settings spend more than those in rural areas, with families in Northeastern urban areas reporting the highest expenditures, followed by families in the urban West and urban Midwest.

Those living in the urban South and in rural areas have the lowest costs associated with raising a child.

Housing costs represent 30 percent of a middle-income family's expenses through high school. This average cost is $71,820 over 17 years. Child care/education and food were next on the list, accounting for as much as 18 percent of the total cost.

The cost estimates do not include education beyond high school or any expenses before the child is born, such as costs associated with pregnancy.

How much a family spends per child decreases as the family has more children. Families with multiple children can have them share bedrooms, clothing and toys, food can be purchased in bulk and some day cares and private schools offer discounts.

Read or Share this story: