It is entirely possible that the birth rate in Britain would fall dramatically if more prospective parents were fully aware of the real costs of raising a child. There has been much research on this subject recently with the various organisations involved arriving at different figures but, in truth, the results have not shown a great deal of variation. Every piece of research has revealed the same basic answer to the big question and that is that raising a child is very costly and more expensive in real terms than ever before.
A recent survey by Quidco.com revealed the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years of age to be £51,000 but this figure only included food, clothes, toys, games, gifts, books and hobbies etc. and not the costs of childcare and other factors which can elevate the overall expenditure dramatically.
Research by the Child Poverty Action Group published in July 2013 suggests that the true cost is a whopping £143,000 and this figure is in keeping with the results from similar research by several other bodies. This more comprehensive research factored in less obvious expenditure like larger housing, additional furniture and higher heating and transport costs together with the enormous price of childcare which is an essential for many families. The costs have risen dramatically in real terms in recent years and have not been helped by youngsters’ increasing demands for electronics and participation in costly hobbies.
It is worthy of note that these statistics relate only to the years from birth to the age of 18 because things don’t usually stop there for parents. With a high proportion of young people now entering further education the expenditure can get even worse after the age of 18. Even those youngsters who do not go to university present an on-going cost as few can afford to move out of the family home immediately and many struggle to find work.
When a child is born families are presented with the difficult situation of rising costs and falling income as the birth of a child will always result in at least some time off work. Things will seem very tough from the outset as a new baby results in a great deal of expenditure in a short space of time with the purchase of all the necessary furniture and equipment. Recent research by AXA has suggested that families need to accumulate a buffer of £5464 before having a baby in order to cope with the costs and drop in income but, if that seems like a lot of money, parents should consider that it only gets worse! As they struggle to buy the cot, feeding equipment and car seat for their child they should be mindful that the early years are actually the cheapest. As the child grows it will eat more, require school uniform and want to pursue hobbies and so the costs will start to mount up. They will then start pestering for a iPhone and Xbox!
The truth is that the real cost of raising a child if they do proceed to University is north of £220,000 and rising. It is also entirely possible that a child will leave university and still require some level of support whilst they are looking for employment. Scary isn’t it?
I guess this goes true in every country, if parents will think more about the actual cost that child-raising entails, they will think twice about having multiple children. Sure it is one enjoyable and fulfilling experience to raise a number of kids, but wouldn’t it make you sad and miserable realizing you cannot provide for your children’s needs and wants just because you decided to have one child too many?
Sally Stacey is a keen writer who divides her time between blogging and running her retail business.
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