What Having a Child Costs

The parenting price tag has soared to about $220,000 per child. Forget Christmas lists, there's no end in sight to the add-ons Americans can think of in the cultivation of kids.

In the equation of life, few parents ever really do the math on the actual dollars-and-cents cost of a child. Sure, the holiday season rolls around and they know that Xbox or that iPod Touch on a kid's wish list is going to tax budgets; sure, the looming cost of a college education can sap some enjoyment from a family vacation. But few parents would guess that the average American child costs more than $200,000, and that's before college even starts. ... Although the lion's share of parental spending today goes to housing and food, health care and education have both ballooned.

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