How Expensive are Children, Really?

My wife recently had a conversation which we’ve had many, many times before. A near-40 year old married man commented that he hadn’t had children yet because they are “too expensive”. Really?

This tired argument is perpetuated by ridiculous studies with little merit, like this one at MSN Money which states that families making $70,200 a year or more will “spend a whopping $269,520 to raise a child from birth to age 17″.

Now, anyone who would bother to take two seconds to think about this would wonder two things (at least): Where did they get that extra $200 after the 70K? And why didn’t they round up the $269,520 to at least $270,000? Are these numbers supposed to look more like real money by using these averages?