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Family Matters No. 53 - June 1999

Budget standards and the costs of children

Peter Saunders

Abstract

For many years, the Australian Institute of Family Studies journal, 'Family Matters' has regularly published two estimates of the costs incurred by Australian parents in raising children. One estimate is based on a Basket of Goods Approach, originally developed by Kerry Lovering in 1984, and the other is grounded in a Survey Expenditure Approach, initially developed by Donald Lee in 1989. There has been a growing recognition that both measures need to be replaced by fresh calculations based new research. As a result the Institute will discontinue publication of the updates of these figures, and in this issue of the journal publishes two articles which explore how the complex issue of estimating the cost of children can best be approached. In this article the author examines the approaches used by Lee and Lovering, and explains current research being undertaken through using indicative budget standards for a range of households that would examine the costs of children in different family circumstances. The other article, by Rebecca Valenzuela, examining costs of children also appears in this issue of 'Family Matters'.

For many years, the Australian Institute of Family Studies journal, 'Family Matters' has regularly published two estimates of the costs incurred by Australian parents in raising children. One estimate is based on a Basket of Goods Approach, originally developed by Kerry Lovering in 1984, and the other is grounded in a Survey Expenditure Approach, initially developed by Donald Lee in 1989. There has been a growing recognition that both measures need to be replaced by fresh calculations based new research. As a result the Institute will discontinue publication of the updates of these figures, and in this issue of the journal publishes two articles which explore how the complex issue of estimating the cost of children can best be approached. In this article the author examines the approaches used by Lee and Lovering, and explains current research being undertaken through using indicative budget standards for a range of households that would examine the costs of children in different family circumstances. The other article, by Rebecca Valenzuela, examining costs of children also appears in this issue of 'Family Matters'.

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