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Parents look away! Raising a child costs £210,000

Parents look away! Raising a child costs £210,000

Category: Money

Updated: 24/02/2011
First Published: 24/02/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

New parents of a nervous disposition should probably look away now as new figures show that raising a child to the age of 21 can cost more than £210,000!

The soaring cost of education and childcare has seen the amount parents are forced to shell out increase from just less than £140,400 in 2003 to £210,848, according to LV=.

Costs have increased by 4.5% in the last 12 months alone, ahead of inflation which is currently at 4%.

Childcare and babysitting represent the largest outlay for parents, with a staggering bill of £67,430 over 21 years.

New parents face outlays of £9,152 during the first 12 months of a child's life and between the ages of one and four, a child costs an average of around £53,586 – that's £13,396 a year.

And should parents wish to cover the full costs of their child's education – including university bills – they can expect to write a cheque for around £55,660, a figure that has rocketed up from just under £32,600 since 2003.

The cost of raising a child rises the most during university years (age 18-21), when parents could face having to pay out £14,634 a year.

Despite the costs, a third (35%) of parents are hopeful that their child will still go to university despite the increase in fees, and they expect to make cut-backs to be able to help their child with the cost.

A further fifth (19%) are hopeful that their child will still go to university although they cannot afford to help with the cost.

Areas of expenditure that have seen big increases in 2010 include clothing (up 11.7%), holidays (up 6.4%), food (up 5.9%) and personal care (which includes toiletries and bath equipment) up 5.1%.

"Parents are all too aware that having a child comes with a hefty bill when you factor in things like childcare, schooling and holidays over a 21 year stretch," Mark Jones, LV= head of protection, said.

Childcare and education must feel like another mortgage payment for some parents as this is still the biggest outlay and shows no signs of slowing down, particularly when many universities are set to increase tuition fees up to £9,000 a year from 2012.

A full breakdown of childcare costs is given below:


Total cost in December 2010

Total cost in December 2009

Total cost in 2003 (1st year of the report)

Childcare & babysitting
























Hobbies & toys




Leisure & recreation




Pocket money








Personal care




Other (includes driving lessons, first car, birthday and Christmas presents)








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