Census data analyzed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has calculated that the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is currently $226,920.
But although that sounds like a high number, Forbes blogger Tom Barlow has determined that it's not functionally any higher than the cost of raising a child in 1960. From Barlow's blog:
According to the U.S. Census, the median income of families in 1960 was $5,600; in 2010, it was $49,445. Adjusted for inflation, though, the 1960 income would be $41,253.84 in 2010 dollars; not a huge amount different from current day income.
In 1960, the projected cost to raise a child to the age of 18, in 2010 dollars, was $185,856. This means that in 1960 a child would have cost 450% of a year's income, vs. today's 459% of annual income. This isn't a huge difference. This should come as some solace to would-be parents.