Child care costs up 4.3% in last year: Cost of raising a child reaches £231,843

16th February 2016

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The cost of raising a child takes up more than a third (38%) of the average UK household’s net income with childcare costs increasing by 4.3% over the last year.

The cost of raising a child in the UK, from birth to the age of 21, has reached £231,843 – making it more expensive than the average semi-detached house in many regions.

In the 13th annual ‘Cost of a Child’ report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research and protection insurance specialist LV= shows that the cost of raising a child has increased by more than £2,500 in the last year, and more than £13,000 over the last five years.

In London, the cost of raising a child is now more than a quarter of a million pounds – £253,638.

The most expensive years are between the ages of one and four, with the cost of childcare and babysitting in particular adding to the financial strain, amounting to nearly a third (30%) of the total cost of raising a child.

The research found six in ten (61%) ask their friends and family to help, but nearly half (47%) say people are less available to pitch in than in previous years. One in seven (15%) parents say they have to pay for a babysitter more than once a week, rising to half (52%) of those in London.

The average annual cost of raising a child now takes up more than a third (38%) of the average UK household’s net income and six in ten parents (59%) admit they’re struggling to manage their outgoings.

Myles Rix, Managing Director, Protection at LV= said: “The cost of raising a child is at an all-time high and, with the price-tag of childcare continuing to rise, family incomes are being stretched even further.

“An unforeseen illness or accident could have a huge impact on family finances and we would urge parents to ensure they have a plan in place to guard against a sudden loss of income, for example taking out an income protection product.”

The full facts: Cost of a Child 2003 – 2016

CATEGORY THIS YEAR: 2016 LAST YEAR: 2015 FIRST REPORT: 2003 % DIFFERENCE FROM LAST YEAR % DIFFERENCE FROM 2003
Childcare & Baby sitting £70,466 £67,586 £39,613  4.3%  77.9%
Education* £74,430 £74,319 £32,593  0.1% 128%
Food £19,004 £19,517 £14,918 -2.6%  27.4%
Clothing £10,942 £10,942 £11,360  0.0% -3.7%
Holidays £16,882 £16,675 £11,458  1.2%  47.3%
Hobbies & Toys £9,307 £9,377 £8,816 -0.7%  5.6%
Leisure and Recreation £7,464 £7,486 £6,366 -0.3%  17.2%
Pocket money £4,614 £4,603 £3,386  0.2%  36.3%
Furniture £3,408 £3,434 £2,074 -0.7%  64.3%
Personal £1,130 £1,146 £925 -1.4%  22.2%
Other (includes driving lessons, first car, birthday and Christmas presents) £14,195 £14,167 £8,845  0.2%  60.5%
Total £231,843 £229,251 £140,398  1.1%  65.1%

*Does not include private school fees but does include day to day costs associated with going to school (e.g. school trips, text books, uniform and school lunch) and university fees. Sending a child to private school would add, on average, £141,863 for a child attending day school, or £260,927 for a child boarding at school, to the overall cost of raising a child, according to CEBR.

Cost of a child by age

AGE COST: 2016 % INCREASE FROM 2015
First year £11,498  2.4%
Years 1 to 4 £63,224  3.5%
Years 5 to 10 £48,479  0.0%
Years 11 to 17 £55,197  0.2%
Years 18 to 21 £53,445  0.1%
Total £231,843  2.2%

Cost of a child by region

REGION 2016 2015
London £253,638 £249,763
South East £245,756 £243,282
East of England £239,125 £238,858
South West £236,534 £233,932
West Midlands £234,269 £232,944
North West £223,832 £222,831
East Midlands £229,416 £221,981
North East £217,820 £215,852
Yorkshire & Humber £214,559 £213,717
England £233,136 £230,410
Scotland £230,988 £230,285
Wales £215,144 £214,162
Northern Ireland £242,413 £239,893
UK National Average £231,843 £229,251

1 According to statistics from Halifax House Prices by Property Type for Q4 2015, the average price of a semi-detached house in the UK is £219,255– this is £12,588 less that the cost of raising a child to the age of 21

2The cost of a child in 2011 was calculated at £218,024. £231,843 – £218,024 = £13,819

3 The cost of raising a child is £11,040 a year on average (£231,843/21 years). The mean total weekly household income in the UK was calculated as £731.78 a week (£38,031.76 a year) using ONS data (Figure 1). Using Listentotaxman, the average net UK household income was calculated as £28,948.80 – £11,040 as a percentage of £28,949 is 38%

Mintel Income Protection Report – February 2015. The data also shows that 9% of working households have some form of income protection policy.

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