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As others see it: No small cost to raise kids

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Sometimes, when we're looking for something we tend to stumble over something else that causes us to pause and think.

Such was the case on Wednesday when we came across a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report detailing what it costs to raise a child. USDA's Center for Nutritious Policy and Promotion has been doing the study annually since 1960.

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So what does it cost to raise a child over the next 17 years if born in 2009? The study says it would cost a middle-income family $222,360 in today's dollars, or $286,050 if inflation adjusted. That's a lot of money!

It represents only a 1 percent increase from the previous year, due to the economy, but it shows that raising a kid isn't cheap. A quarter of a million dollars is quite an investment, one we must take seriously.

For 2009, per child annual childrearing expenses for a middle-income, two-parent family ranges from $11,650 to $13,530, depending on the age of the child. And the range reallydidn't vary that much for single-parent families. Both had one thing in common -- costs per child rose as did family income. Still, it is a sizeable portion of income. ...

Our kids need to know that they're worth something -- not just in terms of dollars and cents -- but that we have made an investment in them to be the best they can be and at some point become a contributing member of society to help repay that debt.

We parents today are a product of the investment of our parents. In 1960, it cost on $25,229 to raise a child to age 18, still most of us have acknowledged that investment in us and are paying it back manyfold.

Costs have risen 22 percent in real terms since then, to $222,360 a year. We love our children no more or no less because of it, but we all want the best for our kids.

We want our money's worth.

Bemidji Pioneer

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