Cost of raising a child reaches 10-year high of £222,000
24 January 2013 | Press release
- Parents paying £82,000 (58%) more to raise a child than ten years ago
- Education and childcare remain biggest costs
- Three quarters of parents (76%) forced to make cutbacks
- iPad generation – yearly spend on “must-have” gadgets is £302 per child
- LV= predicts cost of a child will exceed £350,000 by 2023
Having children has never been more expensive, with the cost of bringing up a child until he or she is 21 at an all-time high of £222,458. This is more than £4,000 up on last year and £82,000 (58%) more than ten years ago, when the first annual Cost of a Child Report  from protection specialist LV= was published.
Education and childcare remains the biggest expenditure for parents. The cost of education* (including uniforms, after school clubs and university costs) has shot up from £32,593 to £72,832 per child in the last ten years – a 124% increase. Childcare costs have also rocketed from £39,613 in 2003 to £63,738 today – a 61% increase.
From birth to 21, parents spend an average of £19,270 on food and £16,195 on holidays – which now cost 4% more than last year. In fact, in the last decade, costs have risen in all areas of expenditure apart from clothing, which has seen a 5% drop.
The full facts: cost of raising a child 2003 - 2013
Ten years ago: 2003
Last year: 2012
This year: 2013
% difference from last year
% difference from 2003
Childcare & babysitting
Hobbies & toys
Leisure and Recreation
*Does not include private school fees
Looking after the pennies…
Mums and dads all over Britain are tightening their purse strings, with more than three quarters of parents (76%) forced to make cutbacks to make ends meet. While many are reining in spending on luxuries such as holidays (45%), more than a quarter are also cutting back how much they spend on essentials such as food (27%).
Of those parents who are cutting back, 68% have switched to buying cheaper or value goods. Vouchers and discount codes are also popular, with 56% of these parents using them to save on shopping bills. Many are also trying to boost their income, with 40% by selling personal items on online or at car boot sales.
Mark Jones, LV= Head of Protection said: “The cost of raising a child continues to soar and is now at a ten year high. Everyone wants the best for their children, but the rising cost of living is pushing parent’s finances to the limit. There seems to be no sign of this trend reversing. If the costs associated with bringing up children continue to rise at the same pace, parents could face a bill of over £350,000 in ten years time.”
Over the last ten years, London (£239,123), the South East (£237,233) and the East of England (£233,363) have remained the three most expensive places to raise children. Ten years ago this was closely followed by Wales, whereas now it is Northern Ireland (£232,883).
Families in the South West have seen the biggest hike in costs, now paying £100,077 more per child than they were ten years ago.
Yorkshire & Humber
East of England
iPad generation adds to expense
Forget dolls and train sets. Today’s children want the same toys as their parents, and the popularity of smartphones, tablets and laptops is adding to the expense of raising a child.
Parents feel under pressure to keep up with the latest technological advances – even for children as young as three years old. Almost a third (28%) of parents have bought their child an electronic gadget in the last 12 months, with more than a fifth (18%) forking out for a laptop or iPad/tablet. The average yearly amount parents spend on these gadgets for their child is £302.
Protecting the family’s financial future
Many cash-strapped families are responding to financial pressures by saving less and spending less. Two-fifths (40%) of parents have slashed the amount they are stashing in savings accounts and a further 26% (up from 22% last year) have cancelled or reviewed insurance policies to try to save money.
Almost half (47%) of parents have no life cover, income protection or critical illness cover in place. While 36% of parents do have life cover, only 11% have critical illness cover and a meagre 6% have income protection.
Mark Jones continued: “The cost of raising a child won’t always be the first thing parent’s think about when deciding to have a family, and regardless of the cost, people wouldn’t change having children for the world. We know parents are making cutbacks to make their money go further. However, I would urge families considering cancelling insurance such as life cover or income protection as a way to save money to think long term. This can have catastrophic implications on the family’s finances if either parent becomes unable to work or is no longer around.
“The cost of raising a child has increased rapidly over the last decade, and looks set to continue rising. It is imperative parents make sure they financially protect themselves and their family, and seek professional advice to talk about what best suits their needs. Protection insurance often costs less than people think, and whether to take out cover is one of the most important financial decisions people will ever make.”
 The cost of a child calculations, from birth to 21 years, have been compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of LV= in December 2012 and are based on the cost for the 21 year period to December 2012.
The report also includes omnibus research conducted for LV= by Opinium Research from 11 – 13 December 2012. The total sample size was 2,013 UK adults. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.
 If the cost of raising a child continued at the same pace as the last ten years (58% increase), in 2023 the cost would be £351,483.
* Does not include private school fees
Parents who send their children to private school can add £106,428 for a child at day school, and £195,745 for a child who boards, to the overall cost of raising a child.