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Cost of kid-raising hits US$234,900 in US

It takes a bundle of cash to raise a bundle of joy in the United States. New parents can expect to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars raising a child, according to a government report issued on Thursday.

A middle-class family with a child born in 2011 can expect to spend about US$234,900 in the next 17 years on food, shelter and other necessities. And that's before a family adds in the cost of college.

The cost comes to about US$295,560 with projected inflation factored in, and represents a 3.5 percent jump from the cost outlook in 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its report.

For Melissa Hutsell, 40, of Little Rock, Arkansas, a mother of six boys ages 3 to 15 years old, the economic side of parenting at times can seem staggering. With total household income around US$50,000, Hutsell said her family relies on a lot of hand-me-down clothing, home schooling and tight budgeting.

“We definitely live on less than our family could use,” Hutsell said. “Groceries have skyrocketed. The thing that takes the biggest chunk is groceries. If you don't have a lot of money but you have a lot of kids, you have to figure out how to spread it further and thinner.”

The annual report, developed by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and based on data from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, said expenses for transportation, child care, education, food, housing, clothing, health care and other expenses all were rising.

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