Costs of children

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See more resources on Costs of children in the AIFS library catalogue

The cost of a child in 2018

Hirsch D
London : Child Poverty Action Group, 2018.
This report provides new estimates of the cost of raising a child in the United Kingdom in 2018. It makes comparisons between these costs and incomes, explains the basis of the calculation, considers how different families cover the cost of childcare, and looks at the squeeze on the incomes of larger families caused by the benefit cap and the two-child limit on eligibility for means-tested benefits. This is the seventh report updating the the Child Poverty Action Group's calculations of 2012, and highlights not only the overall increase in costs but the impact of policies affecting families' ability to meet these costs.

The cost of raising children

Sarlo C
Vancouver, B.C. : Fraser Institute, 2013.
This paper critically examines key approaches to measuring the cost of children, as used in Canada, Britain, the United States, and Australia. It argues that there are serious flaws with all of these approaches - there is no methodology or formula that can determine how much parents need to spend to raise children or, even, how much they actually do spend. What we do know is that parents at all income levels have successfully raised children. The paper proposes instead an alternative approach that relies on expert judgement and a budget framework that covers, at least, the base level of annual child costs that would need to be covered for the healthy development of the child. Data is presented for couple and single parent households with different incomes and different numbers of preschool and school age children, in Canadian dollars.

New estimates of the costs of children.

Saunders P and Bedford M
Family Matters no. 100 2018: 19-27
This article summarises new research on the costs of children conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. It discusses different approaches to estimating costs, summarises the Research Centre's study on different household types, and presents current estimates for low paid and unemployed couples with and without children and for a 6 year-old girl and a 10 year-old boy. These new budgets provide an independent, evidence-based benchmark for assessing the adequacy of the minimum wage and the income support system in Australia.

Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: summary of results, 2015-16

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017.
This website summarises findings from the 2015/16 Household Expenditure Survey, providing insights into the spending patterns of Australian families based on income, wealth, financial stress, location, family type, main source of income, household composition, employment, location, and housing tenure. The findings show that patterns of household spending has changed considerably over the last 30 years, with households now spending more on housing than food. A case study on spending by level of service accessibility/remote area is also included to demonstrate the many ways in which the information collected can be used. Detailed findings provided as spread sheets.

New minimum income for healthy living budget standards for low-paid and unemployed Australians

Saunders P and Bedford M
Sydney, NSW : Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, 2017.
A budget standard indicates how much income a particular family living in a particular place at a particular time needs to achieve a particular standard of living. Budget standards estimates are used in Australia to help guide the setting of the minimum wage and to assess the adequacy of social security payments. This paper reviews and refines earlier, widely used estimates developed by the Social Policy Research Centre to produce a new set of budget standards for low-paid and unemployed families that are relevant to contemporary Australian conditions. The new estimates draw on community focus groups, expert judgements, and relevant evidence from social surveys. The family types included are for a single person (male and female), couples without children, couples with one and two children, and a sole parent with one child.

The implicit costs of motherhood over the lifecycle: cross-cohort evidence from administrative longitudinal data

Neumeier C, Sorensen T and Webber D
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2017.
"In this paper we provide arguably the most comprehensive evidence of how the family gap (and the factors which influence it) has evolved over time in the U.S. The figures presented above provide a detailed picture of the implicit costs of having a child. An understanding of which factors drive the family gap, and how these have changed over time, is important for both researchers (the family gap is a large contributor to the gender pay gap) and policymakers (knowing what factors are important allows for better targeting of labor market policies). We utilize a unique panel dataset which links a traditional labor market survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to over 50 years of administrative earnings records. This allows us to follow individuals for decades before and after they appeared in the SIPP, and enables us to trace out lifecycle earnings paths for multiple birth cohorts. Comparing cumulative earnings for all birth cohorts up to age 43 (the oldest age at which we have data from all cohorts) in the lifecycle, we find that the indirect costs of having children have dropped along several different margins. Comparing mothers and never-mothers, we find a gap of $220,000 for our earliest cohort, born between 1945 and 1949, compared to less than $160,000 for the cohorts born twenty years later."--Conclusion.

Expenditures on children by families, 2015

Lino M
Alexandria, VA : Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 2017.
"Since 1960, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided estimates of expenditures on children from birth through age 17. This technical report presents the most recent estimates for married-couple and single-parent families using data from the 2011-15 Consumer Expenditure Survey (all data presented in 2015 dollars). Data and methods used in calculating annual child-rearing expenses are described. Estimates are provided for married-couple and single-parent families with two children for major components of the budget by age of child, family income, and region of residence. For the overall United States, annual child-rearing expense estimates ranged between $12,350 and $13,900 for a child in a two-child, married-couple family in the middle-income group. Adjustment factors for households with less than or greater than two children are also provided. Expenses vary considerably by household income level, region, and composition, emphasizing that a single estimate may not be applicable to all families."

ASG's education costs estimates: how much could you expect to pay for your child's schooling? : regional Australia estimated schooling costs in 2017

Australian Scholarships Group Friendly Society
Oakleigh, Vic. : Australian Scholarships Group Friendly Society, 2017.
ASG conducts regular surveys of its members to measure a range of variables including school fees, transport, uniforms, computers, school excursions and sporting trips to determine the cost of education. This sheet presents estimates of how much a parent could expect to pay for their child's preschool, primary, or secondary educational costs, for government, independent, and private schools in a regional area. The website also features infographics, state and territory estimates, estimates for children born this year, and estimates for children starting preschool this year.

ASG's education costs estimates: how much could you expect to pay for your child's schooling? : metropolitan Australia estimated schooling costs in 2017

Australian Scholarships Group Friendly Society
Oakleigh, Vic. : Australian Scholarships Group Friendly Society, 2017.
ASG conducts regular surveys of its members to measure a range of variables including school fees, transport, uniforms, computers, school excursions and sporting trips to determine the cost of education. This sheet presents estimates of how much a parent could expect to pay for their child's preschool, primary, or secondary educational costs, for government, independent, and private schools in a metropolitan area. The website also features infographics, state and territory estimates, estimates for children born this year, and estimates for children starting preschool this year.

The cost of kids report

Suncorp-Metway Ltd
Brisbane, Qld. : Suncorp Bank, 2016.
This report looks at the costs of raising children in Australia today, presenting findings from a national online survey of 1,232 parents conducted by Suncorp Bank. It features graphs and charts comparing types of costs, how often they overspend on a particular category, costs by the number of children in the family, and urban versus rural families. Parents were also asked about whether their children had personal technology, whether they limited the amount of time children spent online, and whether they paid their children's mobile phone bill. The findings indicate that parents spend over $300,000 to raise a child from infancy to 17 years old.

Cost of a child: from cradle to college : 2015 report

Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society, Centre of Economic and Business Research (London, England)
Bournemouth, England : LV=, 2015
According to the Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society, the total cost of raising a child in Great Britain has increased at almost twice the rate of annual inflation over the last 12 years. Parents are spending less on food, hobbies and toys for their children, but these savings are being eclipsed by huge increases in the cost of education and childcare. This report series examines the different costs associated with raising a child, as well as the average cost in different areas of Great Britain and for different age groups. It also looks at how parents cope and the impact on fertility and work decisions. The report features calculations compiled by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CEBR) and omnibus research with 2,003 adults conducted by Opinium Research in January 2015.

The stress cost of children

Buddelmeyer H, Hamermesh D and Wooden M
Parkville, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, 2015.
This paper investigates whether the addition of a child to a family imposes hitherto unaccounted factors that affect the decision to have a child or that increase the perceived costs of rearing a child. Previous models have focused on the monetary and time costs of children - this paper extends these to include the stress costs of birth, having children, and the departure of a child from the home. The model is tested with data taken from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey and the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

NCOSS cost of living report June 2015: the experience of cost of living pressures for low to middle income families with dependent children.

Woolloomooloo : NCOSS, 2015
This report examines how families on low to middle incomes (less than $75,000 per year) with dependent children experience cost of living pressures.

The rising cost of child care in the United States: a reassessment of the evidence

Herbst C
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2015.
"Anecdotal evidence suggests that the cost of child care in the U.S. has increased substantially over the past few decades. This paper marshals data from a variety of sources to rigorously assess the issue. It begins by using nationally representative survey data to trace the evolution in families' child care expenditures. I find that the typical family currently spends 14 percent more on child care than it did in 1990 ... The next section of the paper draws on establishment- and individual-level data to examine trends in the market price of child care. The evidence suggests that after persistent, albeit modest, growth throughout the 1990s, market prices have been essentially flat for at least a decade. In the paper's final section, I analyze several features of the child care market that may have implications for prices, including the demand for child care, the skill-level of the child care workforce, and state regulations ... Together, these results indicate that the production of child care has not become more costly, which may explain the recent stagnation in market prices."--Author abstract.

The impact of children on Australian couples' wealth accumulation.

Dockery M and Bawa S
Economic Record v. 91 Suppl S1 Jun 2015: 139-150
Existing estimates of the cost of children focus on what parents spend on their children, which has limited relevance to parents' financial capacity to meet those costs. An alternative indicator of the affordability of children, their impact upon couples' wealth accumulation, is estimated using the lifecycle model and Australian household panel data. The results suggest children have a very small impact upon wealth accumulation, seemingly at odds with the large 'costs' implied from expenditure-based estimates. In reconciling these highly divergent estimates we argue that the net-wealth approach is an intuitively more appealing indicator of the financial impost of children. (Journal article)

The stress cost of children

Buddelmeyer H, Hamermesh D and Wooden M
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2015.
This paper investigates whether children impose a stress 'cost' upon parents - adding a new dimension to the measurement of the monetary and time costs of children. It uses longitudinal data from Australia and Germany to examine if the birth of a child exerts either time or financial stress or pressure upon parents. The impact of a child leaving home is also investigated. Data is taken from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey and the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

Additional school costs for families

Victoria. Auditor-General
Melbourne, Vic. : Victorian Auditor-General, 2015.
Each year parents are being asked to pay more towards their children's "free" public education in Victoria. Meanwhile, the Department of Education and Training - formerly the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development - takes no responsibility for oversight and school principals cite the inadequacy of school funding as the main reason for increasing parent payments. To investigate this situation, this audit assesses whether the Department and government schools are managing parent education costs economically, efficiently, and effectively - and in accordance with legislation and policies.

The cost of being single report

Suncorp-Metway Ltd
Brisbane, Qld. : Suncorp Bank, 2014.
While we all know how expensive it can be to raise kids, the cost of maintaining a 'single' lifestyle is often overlooked. This report presents an analysis of the spending habits of Australians, with a particular focus on Australia's 6.5 million single people. It looks at their monthly expenses, who they live with, credit card debt, budgeting help, what they spend their money on, how often they go out, the most expensive time of year, and whether they thought about saving for the future, with comparisons by gender and with single parents, couples, and people with kids. The report also asked Australians whether they though they'd spend less and save more if they were in a relationship.

Expenditures on children by families, 2013

Lino M
Alexandria, VA : Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 2014.
"Since 1960, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided estimates of expenditures on children from birth through age 17. This technical report presents the most recent estimates for husband-wife and single-parent families using data from the 2005-06 Consumer Expenditure Survey, updated to 2013 dollars using the Consumer Price Index. Data and methods used in calculating annual child-rearing expenses are described. Estimates are provided for major components of the budget by age of child, family income, and region of residence. For the overall United States, annual child-rearing expense estimates ranged between $12,800 and $14,970 for a child in a two-child, married-couple family in the middle-income group. Adjustment factors for number of children in the household are also provided."--T.p. verso.

Cost of a child: from cradle to college : 2014 report

Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society, Centre of Economic and Business Research (London, England)
Bournemouth, England : LV=, 2014
According to the Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society, the total cost of raising a child in Great Britain is now ¹227,266 - an increase of 62% since 2003. This report series examines the different costs associated with raising a child, as well as the average cost in different areas of Great Britain and for different age groups. The report features calculations compiled by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CEBR) and omnibus research with 2001 adults conducted by Opinium Research.

Cost of a child: from cradle to college : 2013 report

Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society, Centre of Economic and Business Research (London, England)
Bournemouth, England : LV=, 2013
According to the Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society, the total cost of raising a child in Great Britain has increased by 58% over the last 10 years. This report series examines the different costs associated with raising a child, how this has changed over the last ten years, what parents are doing to help balance the budget, costs in different areas of the UK, and at what age children are at their most expensive. The report features calculations compiled by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CEBR) and omnibus research with 2,003 adults conducted by Opinium Research in December 2012.

The impact of children on Australian couples' wealth accumulation

Dockery M and Bawa S
Bentley, WA : Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Curtin University, 2013.
Current approaches to estimating of the cost of raising children focus on what parents spend on their children - that is, seeing children as a cost. Instead, this paper proposes an alternative approach based on how the presence of children impacts upon a couple's wealth accumulation. Using estimates based on data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, the paper shows that the 'cost' of children is far lower than traditionally estimated.

Affording the basics: report card 2013

Wise S
Melbourne : Anglicare Victoria, 2013.
This document provides a snapshot of how vulnerable people in Victoria are faring. It presents findings from Anglicare Victoria's 2013 Hardship Survey, which asks their emergency relief clients about deprivation and meeting their basic needs in comparison to the general population. Findings are displayed as infographics on such essentials as housing, warm clothing, food, heating, medical treatment, social inclusion, and children's needs.

Expenditures on children by families, 2012

Lino M
Alexandria, VA : Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 2013.
"Since 1960, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided estimates of expenditures on children from birth through age 17. This technical report presents the most recent estimates for husband-wife and single-parent families using data from the 2005-06 Consumer Expenditure Survey, updated to 2012 dollars using the Consumer Price Index. Data and methods used in calculating annual child-rearing expenses are described. Estimates are provided for major components of the budget by age of child, family income, and region of residence."--T.p. verso.

Spending patterns of couple families.

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Australian social trends July 2013. Belconnen, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013 ABS no. 4102.0 1321-1781
This chapter compares the different spending patterns of couple families at different life stages, including partnering, raising young children, living with adult children, and becoming an empty nest couple. It discusses income, wealth and finances, housing, and spending patterns on different categories. These patterns provide insight into the impact on household spending of changes such as having children, paying off a home mortgage, and retirement.

Cost of kids: the cost of raising children in Australia.

Phillips B
Sydney : AMP Limited, 2013.
This is the third AMP.NATSEM report to look at the costs of raising children in Australia. It presents information current to December 2012, regarding the costs of children, the costs of children by age, the costs of additional children, government assistance, the impact of two parent incomes, and parent working hours. The findings show that the amount parents spend on their children varies with the age of the child and the family's income. Also, children cost more as they get older and families with higher incomes tend to spend more on their children. In conclusion, the report considers whether children are costing more today.

Suncorp costs of kids report 2012.

Suncorp-Metway Ltd
Brisbane, Qld. : Suncorp Bank, 2012.
This report looks at the weekly costs of raising children in Australia today. It presents estimates on the direct costs of food, clothing, personal care, health, bedroom furniture, communications, extra-curicular activities, education, transport, childcare, and savings, for the age groups of infants, toddlers, primary-school aged children, and teenagers.

Updated costs of raising children : September quarter 2012

Henman P
Brisbane, Qld. : Social Policy Unit, School of Social Work and Human Services, University of Queensland, 2012.
This paper provides up-to-date estimates of the costs of raising children in Australia. It discusses approaches to measuring the costs of raising children, how the research has been updated since previous studies, and components of the lifetime cost of a child estimate: housing, energy, food, clothing, household goods and services, child care, health, transport, leisure and personal care. It presents a table of results for each capital city in Australia and for two types of family - the first with two adults working full-time, with adequate living standards, and the second for one unemployed parent and one full-time carer, with low-cost living standards. Note, there is no fixed or absolute cost of a child. The cost of raising a child increases with household income, the cost of the first child is often greater than that for each subsequent child, and costs generally tend to increase with the age of the child.

How do pregnancy and newborns affect the household budget? [Reprint]

Brandrup J and Mance P
Journal of the Home Economics Institute of Australia v. 19 no. 1 2012: 2-11
For most families, the arrival of a newborn child marks a time of happiness and joy; however, it can also be a time of increased stress, some of which may be due to greater pressure on the family budget. The arrival of a newborn is also of key interest to policy makers, especially those seeking to assist families financially to successfully negotiate this important life cycle transition. Although a body of Australian research has examined the costs of raising children more generally, only these authors have specifically reported on how newborns affect household budgets. This article extends the authors' prior work using data from waves 6 to 8 of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The study focuses on partnered women aged between 15 and 47 years and their families. This gave a sample of 1,199 households, and included 411 births over the three-year period. Fixed effects linear regression models are used to estimate whether different categories of household expenditure are typically higher or lower when a newborn arrives. Measureable differences in expenditure patterns associated with the birth of a first-born, second-born or third- or subsequent-born child are discussed.

Expenditures on children by families, 2011

Lino M
Alexandria, VA : Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 2012.
"Since 1960, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided estimates of annual expenditures on children from birth through age 17. This technical report presents the 2011 estimates for husband-wife and single-parent families ... Expenditures are provided by age of children, household income level, major budgetary component (housing, food, etc.), and region (for husband-wife families)."--Executive summary.
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