ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Raising a child is getting more expensive.
On average, a middle-income, married couple in the United States with two children will spend about $14,000 a year, or about $233,610 to raise a child born last year to age 17. That total is a 3 percent increase from last year's calculation in the United States Department of Agriculture's annual report called "Expenditures on Children by Families."
The report also breaks down the numbers into regions of the United States. The Western region, which includes Alaska, has a higher average estimate for that same scenario — about $253,770 total, or $14,927 per year.
As for where that money goes, the report tracks seven categories of spending: housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care and education, and miscellaneous. Housing by far is the most costly.
Parents can also go to the USDA Cost of Raising a Child Calculator to plug in their specific information and get an estimate of expenditures.
Both parents and the community can support children to ensure their success, and it doesn't necessarily have to cost money, according to June Sobocinski, United Way of Anchorage's vice president of education. However, parents do need to be on the lookout for resources in the community to help their children.
"There's a lot of excellent programs out there. Some of them are even low cost or even no cost," Sobocinski said. "It's really a parent's responsibility to find those resources for their kids and connect the kids to them."
Sobocinski says people can look for free events, but if they need extra help, Alaska 211 is a resource parents across the state can use not only to find help with social services, but also educational support services and tutoring.
Anyone can call 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221 to get connected to services, or they can go online to www.alaska211.org.