You've just reached a point in your life when you feel emotionally ready to start a family and sense you're on the precipice of a major milestone. Before you start picking out baby names, however, new data suggests there's one substantial aspect to consider: whether or not you can afford a child.
A new note from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals the real cost of raising a child today—and it might make you rethink whether you're ready. According to the data, parents will need a minimum of $174,690 to raise a child born in 2015, Forbes reports.
For middle-income parents, a new baby comes with a $233,610 price tag while those in a high-income bracket need to set aside $372,210 to cover the first 18 years of a child's life. The disparity can be attributed to costly services like daycare, which high-income earners are able to take advantage of.
Surprised by this figure? A closer look at the data for middle-income families reveals the expenses parents often neglect to consider before getting pregnant. Over their formative years, for example, a child will need up to $13,000 for clothing, $41,400 for food, and $38,040 for childcare and education. Housing accounts for the most substantial cost, with the study revealing you'll need to set aside $66,240.
Were you surprised by these findings? Draft a budget to prepare to start a family.