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The cost of raising a child to age 21

The reality is that many new parents are somewhat unaware of the total cost of raising a child in the UK. In fact the cost per child in our current economy is a figure which continues to increase year on year and is now more than the average price of a UK house; not a statistic which can be simply ignored. Recent research suggests that to raise a child to the age of 21 with the increasing health care and education costs in the UK, will cost a total of a quarter of a million over the 21 year period. This compares to the average house price in the UK of £196,000.00 effective January 2016. Although of course this sum is spread over the years, it is still worth understanding exactly what is likely to be faced as the years of raising a child continue to pass. The Centre for Economics and Business Research and insurer LV conducted research into UK households and discovered that households spend around 38 percent of their total incomes on raising a child. It was also discovered during this research that across the country the cost of childcare increased by 4.3 percent in the last year, further demonstrating how the costs of raising a child continues to increase year on year. Today we will be looking at the costs associated with raising a child in the UK and what this means for parents.

Unsurprisingly LV’s most recent research concluded that the cost of raising a child does vary depending on where in the UK your family is based. In Yorkshire the cost, up to the age of 21 once again, comes in at £214,000.00 which is considerably lower than that of London which currently sits at £253,000.00. For most parents the biggest cost resides in the education element of raising a child. Excluding costs linked to private education, the average cost of education up to the age of 21 is £74,000.00. For those who choose or have access to private education, this figure can expect to be doubled, with LV’s research concluding that this cost up to the age of 21 can now reach in excess of £141,000.00 for children attending day school and a whooping £260,000.00 for those who are educated privately on a board basis. These figures are not only made up of the cost of school uniforms year on year, as well as regular school trips and food whilst in education but are of course accounting for University based fees also. The costs linked to education are clearly one of the largest costs faced by parents but this is closely followed by the cost of childcare and babysitting. Many families will rely on childcare at varying points throughout their child’s life and the cost of such can be expensive. In reality this expense can reach £70,000.00, nearly the same value linked to the average cost of education for raising a child in the UK.

Many parents have expressed how the aspect of childcare can be the most time consuming and sometimes stressful. Given that advanced planning is required, often on a weekly basis, the exercise of getting a child to and from childcare has been said to be troublesome and often difficult to do. Many UK based childcare centres and childminders charge for their services on a weekly basis, given how circumstances can and do change. This means UK parents have to account for the weekly cost of childcare in advance and in a prepared and organised manner. An ill child can result in the service of childcare not being needed and therefore increased costs. This is not only because depending on the childcare child in use; the daily fee will still be applicable but also the cost linked to loss of earnings on the part of the parent responsible. By accounting for the factor of illness the cost of childcare can therefore be increased periodically. Again the increased cost will depend of region and circumstance as well as period of illness and which parent is required to potentially take time off work.

Perhaps one of the most shocking statistics in terms of cost for raising a child up to the age of 21 is that of food costs. Keeping a child properly fed and watered up to the age of 21 will cost on average £19,000.00; this being the same cost of a well-equipped new car. Generally speaking all of these costs seem to highlight some alarming figures which when looked at as a collective, suggest a possible inability to manage the overall cost of raising a child in the UK may occur. That said, it is important to also recognise that these costs are being spread over a 21 year period and can be managed with the help and support of government based schemes and incentives along the way. Conducting research and remaining up to date with such support forms a vital step in the upbringing of a child in UK today.