Press release

Raising a child more expensive than buying a house

  • At £231,843, bringing up a child costs more than the average house
  • The cost of raising a child takes up more than a third (38%) of the average UK household’s net income
  • Childcare costs show the largest rise, 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 [1].

According to the 13th annual ‘Cost of a Child’ report from protection specialist LV=, 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 [2] 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 [3]. Childcare costs increased by the most over the last year (4.3%), making it the second biggest expense after education.

With babysitting costs rapidly adding up, it’s no wonder separate LV= 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.

However, half (49%) of parents don’t have a plan in place if the main breadwinner were to lose their income due to accident or illness and existing research suggests that only one in ten (12%) parents in the UK are covered by an income protection policy [4], which could provide parents with the financial safety net they need to keep the family afloat, which would provide income replacement until they are able to get back to work.

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



FROM 2003 
 Childcare & Baby sitting
 4.3%  77.9% 
 0.1%  128% 
 Food  £19,004
 -2.6%  27.4%
 0.0%  -3.7%
 Holidays  £16,882
 1.2%  47.3%
 Hobbies & Toys
 -0.7%  5.6%
 Leisure and Recreation
 -0.3%  17.2%
 Pocket money
 0.2%  36.3%
 Furniture  £3,408
 -0.7%  64.3%
 -1.4%  22.2%
 Other (includes driving lessons, first car, birthday and Christmas presents)
 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.

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

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. 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.

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
 South East
 East of England
 South West
 West Midlands
 North West
 East Midlands
 North East
 Yorkshire & Humber
 Northern Ireland
 UK National Average



Notes to editors: 

Cost of a child calculations, from birth to 21 years, were compiled by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CEBR) for LV= in December 2015 and are based on the cost for the 21 year period to December 2015.

Additional research was conducted by Opinium Research from 22 to 27 January 2016. The total sample size was 1,000 UK adults with children under the age of 18 and was conducted online. Results have been weighted to a nationally representative criteria.

About LV=

LV= employs over 6,000 people and serves over 5.8 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We are currently the UK's number one brand for Insurance and Investments, according to the 2015 YouGov Brand Index Buzz Rankings.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

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