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Cost of Raising a Child Raises Child Support Ante

Michigan parents know that raising a child is expensive. However, they may be surprised to learn just how expensive it actually is.

A recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that middle class parents will spend around $300,000 on a child by the time the child reaches the age of 17. The figures in this report are used to help determine child support and foster care guidelines.

Just think about that figure for a minute, as it applies to child support cases.

Broken down, the data shows that a middle-income family, consisting of a married couple and two children, can expect to pay between $12,290 and $14,320 annually for just one child. The numbers increase for families with higher incomes and decrease for those with lower incomes. In higher income families, the number is almost twice the amount.

The report highlights regional differences as well. The expenses tend to increase in urban areas in the northeast and decrease in rural areas.

Child care and education are the major areas where the numbers have risen since the report was first compiled in 1960. These expenses accounted for only 2 percent of expenses in 1960. Today they account for 18 percent.

The largest amount of these expenses goes toward housing. Food is also a significant contributor to the overall cost, making up 16 percent. Other costs, such as transportation and health care, make up the remaining expenses.

Because this report only estimates costs up to age 17, college costs are not factored in. Tuition and fees at four-year private colleges cost around $28,500. An additional $10,000 can be added to that number for room and board.

The high figures in the report emphasize the necessity and importance of resolving child support issues in a divorce. After the tough economy of the last few years, Michigan parents know this as well as any in the country.

Source: "Cost to Raise a Child: Around $300,000, Not Including College," Wall Street Journal, Phil Izzo, 6-14-12

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