If you ever thought the costs of raising kids in Australia was a financial walk in the park, think again.
Researchers from UNSW Sydney have revealed the estimated costs of raising children in Australia have risen substantially over a 20 year period, now costing unemployed and low-paid families $140 and $170 respectively.
Australian Institute of Family Studies Director Anne Hollonds said the figures demonstrate the need for strong government policy and adequate salaries for minimum income families.
“Families are very aware of increasing costs and the need to make decisions about managing the household budget and the costs of raising children,” she said.
The research was conducted using a “budget standards” approach to estimate the cost of children’s food, clothing and footwear, health, personal care and school expenses and their share of household expenses like housing, household goods and services, and transport costs.
Professor Peter Saunders said this approach identified the costs all of the items needed to achieve a “minimum income standard for healthy living” in Australia today.
“A series of focus group interviews with low-income families told us how they manage on their budgets, which turned up important trends, including clothes swapping for school uniforms and buying more home-brand or generic items in supermarkets and chain stores,” he said.
The study found the estimated weekly costs for low-paid families of raising two children – a 6-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy – is $340 per week, or $170 a week per child.
At the lower unemployed standard, the weekly costs of raising two children is $280 per week, or $140 a week per child.
The most expensive budget items were housing costs, based on families paying average prices for rental accommodation in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, followed by food, household goods and services.
Other shared costs include the additional energy bills required to keep the home adequately warm, and transport costs associated with ferrying children to school and activities.