MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Department of Agriculture releases a report every year estimating what it costs to raise one child from the ages of zero to 17.

The estimate came out to $245,340 in 2014. So where does that money go?

It ends up being about $14,000 a year. At $12,940 a year, toddlers cost slightly less than the $14,970 a year for teenagers.

“I don’t think I realized how expensive they were going to be,” one Minnesota mom of two said.

The most expensive place to raise a child is in the urban Northeast at $282,480. The urban Midwest comes in around $240,570 and rural areas are $193,590.

Much of that discrepancy is due to housing costs, which make up the biggest chunk of expenses at 30 percent. The USDA statisticians look at the cost of additional bedrooms, the utility and furniture costs associated with them to determine housing data.

Child care and education rank second at 18 percent. Child Care Aware of Minnesota says the average annual cost of in-home child care centers range from $6,274 for school-age children to $7,683 for infants.

The costs for day care centers range from $9,080 to $14,197. About 90 percent of Minnesota children in day care attend in-home facilities.

Food is third at 16 percent, followed by transportation (14 percent), health care (8 percent), clothing (6 percent) and miscellaneous (8 percent).

Higher-income families spend more on children than lower-income families.

“I think a lot of it has to do with how you do it,” one Minnesota mother of four said. “I think there’s a wide range of amounts that you could spend.”

Excluded from this study are college expenses. The College Board estimated in 2014 that the cost of tuition, room and board for a four-year public college was 18,000 a year. And it is $41,000 a year for a private school.

Heather Brown

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