How much does a child cost?


A couple raising a child from 0-18 in today’s prices will cost £155,142, while it would cost a lone parent £187,100.

The costs of raising a child include housing costs, childcare, transport, food and clothing as well as a number of other essentials.

According to a report by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), if both parents are working full time and earning the ‘national living wage’ they will still be 13% short of what they need to raise a child.

A lone parent working full time and earning the ‘national living wage’ would be 18% short.

For families reliant on benefits, a couple would be 42% short and a lone parent would be 40% short.

Recent benefit changes have put on a strain on parents in and out of work.

For example, as a result of cutting the ‘family element’ of Child Tax Credit, and the equivalent in Universal Credit, families with an eldest child born after 6 April this year have lost an extra £10.45 per week, which is equivalent to 12% of the cost of a first child.

In addition, due to the ‘two child limit’ imposed on Child Tax Credit claimants, parents have lost £53.20 per week for a third or any subsequent children born after 6 April this year – that’s 59% of the cost of a third child.

Further benefit freezes have also added extra burdens to parents; child benefits now pay effectively £7.30 a week less than they did in 2012 for the first child, and £5.80 a week less than they did for a second and subsequent children.

On top of this, many parents have lost money due to the Benefit Cap.

What help is available?

If you are raising a child, you could be entitled to Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits, Guardian’s Allowance, Income Support, Universal Credit, and/or help with housing costs.

Use the Benefits Calculator to find out exactly what you are entitled to.

You may also be eligible for Free School Meals, Healthy Start Food Vouchers, Sure Start Maternity Grant, Tax Free Childcare, School Clothing Costs, School Travel Costs and/or help with childcare costs.

Furthermore, the Grants Search may highlight a charitable fund that is able to help.