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Couples hold off on having kids

Tuesday - 9/11/2012, 7:47am  ET

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The USDA says the annual average for child-rearing in 2011 ranged from $8,760 to $9,970. (AP)

WASHINGTON - Officially, the recession is over, but the lingering economic impact has more people waiting to start families.

It costs about $235,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17. When inflation is factored in, the cost jumps to $295,000, according to government figures.

Middle-class couples making between $39,000 and $118,000 annually are among those delaying families, according to The Huffington Post.

A recent Pew survey also finds one in five 18- to 34-year-olds is putting off having a baby due to the recession.

A report by Demographic Intelligence estimates that 1 million babies have been postponed since the recession started. The overall average age when most women have their first child has risen from 21 to 25.

Debt is playing a role in delaying the start of a family. Because of credit card bills and student loan debts, couples have less saved.

While economists say birth rates will likely go up as the economy improves, some also say policy changes and access to contraceptives may play a role in the declining birth rates, The Huffington Post reports.

WTOP's Veronica Robinson contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)