The Rising Costs Of Raising Children

13:09' 20-06-2018
Recent estimates of the costs of raising children in Australia show costs have risen substantially over the last two decades, due to changing expectations of what children need to live a healthy life.

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    Photo: abc.net.au

    The figures, published in April by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, show the weekly costs of raising a child range from $140 for unemployed families and $170 for low-paid families, based on findings by the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre.

    Institute Director Anne Hollonds said the figures are of interest to both families and policy makers.

    “Families are interested because the cost of raising children affects their wellbeing and the decisions they make about managing the burden of care, and policy makers need robust information to inform family policies, including the adequacy of minimum incomes,” Ms Hollonds said.

    The study used a “budget standards” approach to estimate the cost of food, clothing, footwear, health, personal care and school expenses, and children's share of household expenses like housing, household goods and services, and transport costs. These are the items needed to achieve a minimum income standard for healthy living.

    The most expensive budget items were housing costs, followed by food, household goods and services. Food and clothing costs were based on the prices of shelf items in nationwide stores. The costs of mobile phones, which are now commonplace, were also included. Shared costs included the additional energy bills required to keep the home adequately warm, and transport costs associated with taking children to school and activities.

    Researcher Professor Peter Saunders said the new estimates were higher because “prevailing community standards have shifted upwards” since the original budget standards were created in 1995.

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Keywords: australiaaustralian institute of family studiesraising children

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