Cost of a child reaches £148,000

Meeting the minimum needs of a child up to age 18 now costs around £148,000 – equivalent to around £160 a week – according to an updated analysis published by the Child Poverty Action Group. The figure has risen by 4 per cent between 2012 and 2013.

The calculation is based on the 'minimum income standard' – the income needed in order to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living, based primarily on popular consensus. It is averaged for a child across all ages, and includes childcare costs and housing.

Key points

  • Families with children in 2013 are facing rising costs not matched by increases in their incomes. The general squeeze on living standards caused by stagnant wages and rising prices hits families particularly hard. This is partly because they are generally more stretched than smaller households in making ends meet, and partly because childcare fees have risen particularly quickly.
  • Over the last year, 'safety net' benefits for families and children have only risen by 1 per cent. This is the first time since the 1930s that these have been cut in real terms rather than being uprated at least by inflation.
  • For the first time since 1946, not all families with children now get at least some state help with the cost of a child: child benefit stopped being universal, after being effectively withdrawn from families with someone earning £60,000 or more a year.
  • Out-of-work families have become subject to additional costs, reducing their net income available for spending on children. They are now required by most local authorities to pay at least some council tax, which previously had been fully covered by benefits. For families in social housing considered to have one or more spare bedrooms, the ‘bedroom tax’ has been imposed. And some large families or those with high housing costs are now subject to the absolute cap on the level of benefit entitlement per family.

Source: Donald Hirsch, The Cost of a Child in 2013, Child Poverty Action Group
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Publication date: 
Aug 19 2013