Cost of Rearing a Child Rises to $234,000 Having kids is expensive, as if parents needed to be told that. But the US government issued a report today quantifying just how expensive: For a child born now, it will cost an average of $234,900 to raise them, and that's just to age 18. The total cost is up 3.5 percent from a year ago, according to the US Department of Agriculture report. Child care and education, transportation and food had the biggest cost jumps. Costs vary by family income. A typical family earning less than $59,410 a year will spend $169,080 in 2011 dollars to rear a child, but parents who make over $102,870 will pay $389,670, according to the study. Costs have changed over the years, the report stated. Health care in constant dollars has doubled since 1960. Child care and education went from 2 percent of the pie to 18 percent today. Housing costs stayed roughly the same at 30 percent. The report doesn't cover college costs, but an estimate by 529s.com puts the cost of a private college education at $420,000 in 18 years, and a public education at $195,000 for in-state students.