Costs of raising a child rise again; lowest in the South - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Costs of raising a child rise again; lowest in the South

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The cost of raising a child has gone up again, according to new numbers from the USDA.

The national average is $245,340 for food, housing, childcare, education and other expenses that come along the way. The South, in general, actually has the lowest average cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years, at $230,610.

The USDA says the average cost per child in 2013 for a middle-income, two-parent family was from $12,800 to $14,970, depending on the age of the child.

For middle-income families, housing costs are the most expensive expenditure, about 30 percent of the total cost, followed child care and education, at 18 percent, and food, at 16 percent.

One of the biggest costs, parents say, is daycare. If a parent pays $150 a week for daycare, and the child goes there for six years, it will end up costing nearly $47,000.

A lot of people say the cost to raise a kid is higher than the estimate.

It doesn't account for college, or college savings - a priority for many families.

I talked with Rev. Frances Brown today, a woman who has been counseling families in the Grand Strand for nearly 33 years through the South Strand Pastoral Counseling.

She says families with children often face financial struggles.

The problem is understanding the need to save and not giving in to the latest clothing and technology trends.

"Do they need the most expensive phone? I think looking at what's important and what is needed," says Brown. "What will work, what is livable, and what we can afford. And that's really important. It's really hard sometimes to set boundaries and to say 'no.''"

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