Multiple Births Bring Attention That Quickly Fades

"In reality, multiples create a huge lifestyle change and financial burden for families," she said. "If you have one baby, you might return to work and put the baby in day care. Three or more kids and it becomes too expensive for most families. By the time the kids get to college, families are often in debt. The average student graduates with $60,000 in debt; it's much higher for multiple families. Parents' entire salaries go into paying tuition.

Try the Cost of Raising a Child Calculator

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new Cost of Raising a Child Calculator -- a tool the department developed to help parents prepare for expenses and life insurance -- a middle-class family living in the western United States can expect to spend at least $9,171 on a year's worth of housing, food, transportation, clothing, health, education and other expenses for a single child under age 1.

Projected costs keep climbing as the children get older, according to the USDA calculator. By the time the children are 17, their parents can expect to spend at least $10,133 on each child annually, or $81,064 total for the year.

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