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Whoa Baby! 2012’s New Arrivals Will Cost Parents A Quarter Million


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Bundles of joy born in 2012 will cost you, but less so in Texas, a cheap pill could be a game changer for prostate cancer, a feral hog trapper signs a deal with the City of Dallas and more.

New parents, take a deep breath and count to 10. The USDA has calculated the cost of raising a baby born in 2012 to adulthood, and it’s not exactly chump change. The grand total is $241,080 and that figure jumps past $300,000 when you adjust for inflation. That’s a 2.6 percent increase from the 2011 baby price tag, which is lower than average, but experts say wages aren’t keeping pace with the uptick. However, there is some good news for Texans. Our region is among the cheapest for baby raising.

The urban south where Texas is located is the least expensive urban zone for child rearing. Kiddos cost just over $226,000 to raise in our area, compared to more than $277,000 in the urban northeast. Rural areas are still the cheapest, with baby raising costs ringing up at just over $190,000.

NPR has posted the USDA infographic here, which is chock full of price breakdowns by age and category. For instance, did you know 12 to 14 year-olds gobble the most food, at least dollars-wise? Parents of middle-schoolers might not be shocked.

  • Pop A Pill, Prevent Prostate Cancer?: A Texas led medical study has found a cheap, generic pill could have a major impact on new diagnoses of prostate cancer.  Researchers says finasteride, which costs about 40 cents per capsule, prevents about 30 percent of low-grade prostate cancers and doesn’t increase the risk of dying from more aggressive tumors. It was originally thought that finasteride would increase the risk of higher grade prostate tumors, which may still be true, but the study shows that men who take the pill are not more likely to die of prostate cancer. "A 30 percent reduction is 50,000 to 80,000 fewer cancers per year, if everyone took it," says project leader Dr. Ian Thompson with the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio. [NPR]

  • Dallas Agriculturalists Push Larvicide, Not Insecticide: Urban farmers in North Texas are convinced ground spraying for West Nile mosquitos is damaging their crops and say they’ve got a safer plan in mind. According to the Dallas Observer, the Honeybee Guild, Eat the Yard and several other groups say it’s too hard to keep up with what areas are being sprayed when, so they’ve distributed an open letter to Dallas County Commissioners and Dallas City Hall outlining an alternative. They say a substance called Bti Larvicide is safer and also more efficient at killing West Nile-infected mosquitoes than adult insecticides.

  • Is 74 The New 40? For Some Farmers, It Has To Be: Speaking of farming, Texas is one the states with the highest concentration of aging farmers, a trend that’s been steady for 30 years. In the late 1970s, the average age of the American farmer was 50. Today, it’s 57 plus. KERA visited with a Tarrant County couple, age 71 and 74, who run their entire 11 acre farm by themselves. They have hundreds of fruit trees and several large gardens and host field trips for North Texas kids. Sue and Ray Short want to retire, but don’t have the money to do so. So for now, they just keep going.

  • Feral Hogs, Consider Yourselves Warned: A feral hog trapper just signed a three year contract with the city of Dallas. According to the Dallas Morning News, feral hogs are now well established in North Texas. Because they can carry disease which can be transferred into city water supply, Dallas struck a deal with Osvaldo Rojas. He’ll capture as many hogs roaming city owned land as he can and then forward them to a slaughterhouse. Rojas’ deal cannot top $284,700.
Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.