£194,000: The cost of raising a child

By politics.co.uk staff

New research has revealed the cost of raising a child, and highlighted the effect of the credit crunch on bringing up a family.

The heightened cost of university education is one reason for the rise in the average, with the figures raising concerns about the feasibility of less well-off families sending their children into higher education during the recession.

The total cost of having a child comes in at £193,772 from birth to 21.

The peak years of expenditure are during university, with annual spending rising to £39,191 per year between 19 and 21. That compares to £8,853 in the child’s first year.

The increased price of university is leading many analysts to fear to consequences of a recession on families who were already put off by the idea of top-fees.

Mike Rogers, LV= chief executive, said: “Every parent knows how their hard-earned savings can dip thanks to eye-watering education and childcare costs.”

The average household could spend £50,240 on education over their child’s lifetime, which includes £34,300 on a three year university degree course. This includes annual tuition fees, travel, books, and living costs, including rent, bills and household items.

The figures also show parents cutting down on spending, with eight out of ten families dropping expenditure due to financial insecurities.

That extends to pocket money, which is noticeably down. Currently, parents give their children an average of £4,144 in pocket money between the ages of five and 18. That’s down £1,325 on 2007 figures.

The first victim of a reduction in family spending is family activities, with holidays and recreation dropping off the agenda.

Just over half of the parents questioned in the survey, by insurance and investment group LV=, have curbed spending on holidays.