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We all know that raising children can be costly, but the latest figures may come as a shock to both those already raising families and would-be parents. According to the latest research, you could be shelling out almost a quarter of a million dollars to bring up your offspring, and that excludes costly college tuition fees.

Although the true cost can vary depending upon location and household income, according to the statistics released by The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the cost of raising just one child born in 2013 to the age of 18, will cost a middle-income couple just over $245,000. The eye-watering figure is $4,260 more than the previous year.

The figure takes into account living costs including food, clothing, child care bills, health care and education but failed to include college costsa figure that keeps on rising.

Couples considering starting a family needn't panic just yet. The estimate greatly varies according to several variable factors. The research suggested that high-income families who live in urban areas including the Northeast, are projected to spend a whopping $455,000 to raise their child to the age of 18, while low-income families in more secluded rural areas will spend much less, an estimated $145,500, according to the report.

One of the biggest financial burdens facing parents is often childcare, particularly as it can now cost many families the same as their monthly rent or mortgage payments.

And while such costs keep rising, annual salaries are still 8 percent lower than when the recession first started putting a squeeze on household incomes. In turn, families are finding creative ways including utilizing coupons for grocery shopping and seeking childcare help from friends and family to help keep costs down.

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