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How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK?

Deciding whether or not to raise a child is no easy decision. As any parent can tell you, raising children will completely change the way you live and organise your life, starting with your expenses! But how much does a child cost in the UK really?

How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK?Depending on the area in which you live, childcare costs in the UK are estimated to be between £150,000 to £200,000, including food, housing, and childcare
What help does the government provide for raising children?For each child you have, you can claim a child benefit from the government, which usually equates to around £100 per month. More about this later.
What are the biggest costs related to raising a child?The two greatest costs that need to be considered on a family’s budget, are childcare and housing

Average cost of raising a child in the UK

How much does it cost to raise a child on average? When planning parenthood, you must take stock of the costs that await you once you have children to look after, in order to ensure you can support them financially. According to the Child Poverty Action Group, childcare and housing are the highest costs on family budgets when it comes to childcare costs in the UK.

In 2021, the average cost of raising a child in the UK to the age of 18, depending on the area in which you live, was estimated to be between £160,000 to £190,000 (£160,692 for couples and £193,801 for single parents). In 2022, the average cost of raising a child in the UK ranged from £150,000 to £200,000 (£157,562 for couples and £208,735 for single parents). In 2023 the cost rose even further to £166,000 for a couple and £220,000 for a single parent.

The costs include food, housing and childcare but not luxuries like vacations, gifts or hobbies. It’s like taking out a mortgage, so making financial planning before becoming a parent is so important!

The average number of children per family UK.

According to the most recent data from Statista, in the UK, the average number of children per household has decreased to less than two in recent years. This decline is most likely due to the increased costs of raising a family. Note, however, that the costs of raising children decrease significantly after the first child.

Childcare costs in the UK by age

How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK annually? The answer is that it depends! While the bottom-line cost of having a child is high, you’re more likely to bear the brunt of the big-ticket cost items in their early years since they become increasingly independent and financially self-sufficient as they grow up. So, before starting a family, understanding how much does a child cost in the UK in terms of from day one to age 21, and the number of children you hope to have are all topics that you need to explore. Read on to find out more.

First few months

Whether you are conceiving or planning to adopt, the first few months with the child are always the most tumultuous, both for your way of life and finances, since it is during these months that you will make the more significant purchases. Baby monitors, car seats, prams, bassinets, and nursery room furniture – these can all run the bill for childcare costs in the UK into the hundreds, if not thousands, in addition to the seemingly infinite amount of nappies, food, equipment and changes of clothes. So, when asking yourself “How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK?” – needless to say, it’s more than likely that you can expect to add an average of £300 – £500 to your monthly spending during these first few months.

Early years (ages 1 to 3)

Once you’ve made it through the first year or so, you’ll come across the next major child-rearing expense – childcare. This cost is most significant between the ages of one and three since, at this age, the children are still too young to be enrolled in preschool education programmes. In the meantime, if you plan on sending your children to a nursery or hiring a nanny while you return to work, you will have to pay for those expenses out of pocket, and as any parent can tell you – the answer to “How much do children cost to raise?” is that is most certainly not cheap! Depending on where you live, nursery school fees can range anywhere between £150 – £250 per week! The average cost in 2023 for putting a child into a part-time nursery according to the Day Nurseries website, is over £8,000, so many families must plan their budgets carefully to cover these fees.

Childhood (ages 4 to 17)

How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK once the child is enrolled in the educational system? When children get into the educational system, it will help to alleviate some of the more routine costs of child-rearing, while bringing about others – play dates, extracurricular activities, etc. For more information on “How much does a child cost per month or per year” between the ages of 4 to 17 in 2023, please click here.
Between the ages of 4 and 17 is the period of their lives in which it is easier to regulate spending and costs, as opposed to when they are infants and require specific foods, and childcare, since their needs in this age group are relatively simple to fulfil. Consider setting up a college fund and start saving for your children with the money you save on childcare costs.
In their teenage years, as they start to seek more independence, they will begin to develop hobbies and social lives, and you assume the role of free transportation provider until they start driving on their own. In addition, new, young drivers can cause your auto insurance rates to increase. Each of these factors, along with increased spending on food and utilities – since teenagers are growing and developing rapidly at this age and are eating non-stop – can run up a hefty bill.

Early adulthood (ages 18 to 21)

At this age, they aren’t kids anymore, and they will start moving out of the house to live on their own, either starting to work or enrolling in university. Although they are beginning to become more financially independent, it’s common for parents to continue to spend a great deal on their children – university tuition, car payments or holiday vacations. Typically, once they finish university, the average spend from parents on their children drops considerably and revolves around birthdays or other celebrations.

What are the main additional costs of child rearing?

Overall, the childcare costs in the UK that are more or less steady over time, are those associated with our more basic needs: utility consumption, increased spending on food, additional insurance payments, buying new clothes to replace those that have been outgrown, etc.
Outsourcing childcare is another significant part of childcare costs in the UK, which, for most people, is unavoidable when raising children. For the first years after childbirth or adoption, as parents return to work, this is one of the most significant additions to monthly costs. However, after a few years, this will eventually be replaced with other things associated with educational needs and hobbies.

Government help

There can be no doubt then when it comes to, “How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK?” – it is expensive. So, what financial support is available for parents to help alleviate the hefty costs of child rearing? In the UK, parents can claim benefits from the government to help lessen some of the financial burdens associated with raising children.

In terms of childcare costs in the UK for each child you have, you can claim a child benefit from the government, which usually amounts to around £100 a month, provided over the course of each week, to help cover some of the costs of raising children. Regarding parent eligibility, if you claim one or more children as your dependents, you are eligible to receive child benefits. Note, however, that only one parent may claim the benefit.

In addition to child benefits, you are also eligible for tax deductions based on the number of children that you have. The child tax credits won’t impact the child benefits you may receive. However, you can only claim a child tax credit if you already receive working tax credit.

To help with the extensive childcare costs in the UK, you can apply for tax-free childcare from the government, which can amount to up to £2,000 in a year or more, depending on the particular needs of your child. When calculating how much does the average child cost per year in the UK?- this sort of financial help is an important consideration to bear in mind.

For further information on how to claim these benefits and deductions, visit the website.

Can I afford to have a child?

How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK? Well, one thing is for sure and that is that the cost for many people can be quite intimidating. However, it shouldn’t scare you from having children if you want them. On the contrary, you can make parenthood more affordable with proper financial planning.

Some advice for soon-to-be parents who are anxious about financially supporting their new family: try to plan the budget for your household ahead of time as best you can, to get an idea of the costs you will have to take on once you become a parent, and start saving!

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for the cost of raising a child in the UK is to start saving immediately since you don’t know what exactly will be the future costs of having children. In addition, having funds set aside for emergencies is essential to cover unforeseen expenses.

For those who can, investing in funds early on for your child is an excellent way to help provide a nest egg for them later in life when they want to buy a house or go to university.

A final word of advice – when considering the question, “How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK? – is to not be afraid to talk about money! Having open conversations concerning finances with your family to avoid going over budget is key.


What is the average cost of children for a family in the UK?

The average cost of raising a child for a family in the UK is estimated to be around £150,000 and £200,000 over a lifetime. However, the average costs decrease with each additional child.

What is the best way to begin preparing financially for a child?

The best thing expecting parents can do to prepare their finances for raising a child is to plan the budget their household will need ahead of time and start saving effectively.

How much does it cost to raise a child and how does it change over time?

Some of the more significant costs are borne during the early years of child raising, like childcare products and services, which decrease as the children become increasingly independent and financially self-sufficient.

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