Expecting a Bundle of… Expense?

August 18, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Children are bundles of joy, but new data shows they are a bundle of expense too.

Families making less than $56,870 a year will spend a whopping $159,870 to raise a second child born in 2008 through age 17, according to estimates from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, according to MSN Money. The figures for higher-income families are more unsettling: $221,190 for families earning $56,870 to $98,470 and $366,660 for families making more than that.

The survey involves interviews with about 5,000 households, four times a year. It’s a composite average, and, by definition, that means your numbers will be a little (possibly a lot) higher or lower.

MSN Money reports that the cost per child goes down for larger families. A child with no siblings costs 25% more than one with a sibling, for example. As the child ages, costs rise through age 5, plateau from ages 6 to 11, then rise again from ages 15 to 17.

MSN points out that the study doesn’t take into account certain expenses incurred by some families, such as heavy medical bills or pricey private schools, and because the survey ends at age 17, it doesn’t take into account the millions of college students who are supported in part or in full by their parents.

The study breaks down overall expenditures into various categories, such as food, clothes and daycare or school. The information is used by state agencies and court systems to determine child-support guidelines and foster-care payments, among other things.

How much will your family spend?*
Pretax income/ ageTotalHousingFoodTrans.ClothesHealthCare/ schoolMisc.
Less than $56,870
Through age 2$8,500$2,950$1,090$1,080$620$570$1,780$410
3 to 58,5702,9501,1901,1304905401,670600
6 to 88,3302,9501,6101,240560600750620
9 to 119,0102,9501,8501,2505706201,130610
12 to 149,4302,9502,0101,360670950770680
15 to 179,4502,9502,0001,510710920790570
$56,870 to $98,470
Through age 2$11,610$3,870$1,310$1,550$740$770$2,500$870
3 to 511,6503,8701,4001,6006007302,3901,060
6 to 811,6203,8701,9701,7206708501,4601,080
9 to 1112,3503,8702,2501,7206909101,8401,070
12 to 1413,0203,8702,4201,8308201,2801,6601,140
15 to 1713,4803,8702,4101,9808801,2102,1001,030
More than $98,470
Through age 2$19,250$7,010$1,790$2,350$1,020$890$4,440$1,750
3 to 519,2707,0101,8802,4008608504,3301,940
6 to 819,2807,0102,4702,5109409803,4101,960
9 to 1120,0907,0102,8002,5209801,0403,7901,950
12 to 1421,3707,0103,0002,6301,1401,4704,1002,020
15 to 1722,9607,0102,9902,7801,2401,3905,6401,910

*Estimates of expenditures on the younger child in a two-child, two-parent family. To estimate expenses for an only child, multiply the figure by 1.25. To estimate expenses for each of three children, multiply by 0.78.