Growing pains - the cost per person in a growing family illustration

Growing pains – the cost per person in a growing family

Starting and growing a family is an exciting and fulfilling time in any person’s life. There is a lot to consider at this stage to prepare both personally and financially for your new child’s arrival. But for those growing their families, how much does each additional child truly cost?

MoneySuperMarket have researched the additional costs you can except to see with each new addition to your family. The data factors in everything from the cost of upsizing your house and car, to the inevitably increasing gas and electricity bills, and even what you could expect to pay if you chose to privately educate your children.

Explore the research below to uncover the true cost per person in your growing family.

Cost of raising a child around the world

It's expensive to raise a family wherever you go, but some countries offer lower costs than others. We've researched the average cost of raising a family of four, factoring in everything from homes to healthcare, to reveal the most and least expensive countries to raise a family.

The US, for example, have high rental prices and massive preschool bills that outmatch anywhere in the world. Preschool in particular is a massive £553 more a month for two children in the US than the UK, the next most expensive - though US utility bills were actually toward the lower end of the scale.

Sweden, on the other hand, shows its affordability in that it's the only country covered in this study where a single parent could afford to raise a family of four by themselves - primarily due to extremely low preschool costs for young children and very reasonable utility bills, outweighing more expensive food prices.

Cost of family of four around the world

Global average cost of a four person family, as a percentage of two parents’ salaries

While the US has the highest overall monthly costs for a family, it's offset significantly by high local wages, meaning that while the amount you spend on your family is likely to take up 90% of two people's, the UK has much higher comparative costs.

London's monthly total is 103% of two average monthly salaries - with rent and preschool coming in at some of the highest costs worldwide. In fact, these costs are almost as high as those in the US - despite the average salary being 36% lower.

Graph showing global average cost of a four person family, as a percentage of two parents’ salaries

Cost of raising a child in the UK

Change in UK household spending over time

There's been a general upward trend on overall costs for an average family, with total household spending rising by 8% since 2002. In that time, household costs (including rent) have increased by a total of 13%, the most significant change visible in the graph below.

Household goods and services, meanwhile, have seen a more slight growth that was slowed by a dip in 2011, and have seen an overall growth of only 8%, in line with overall spending.

Groceries have actually dropped in expenditure - most significantly a 10% drop between 2004 and 2011, though there has been a slow increase since that time.

Graph showing change in UK household spending over time

How much is being spent on purchases and payments?

Purchases and payments spending illustration

A person living on their own can fork out £12,114.47 a year in living costs alone - that’s approximately 45% of the average UK salary.

That amount increases for a couple, as might be expected, but it can be offset by having two salaries coming into the household if both partners are earning.

The real increases come with children, who cause costs to raise by upwards of £2,000 each, and significantly more if you send them to private school.

How much does property cost?

How much does property cost illustration

The average cost for a one-bedroom house starts at £168,000 and increases by an average of £104,400 for each extra bedroom. It might not cost you more if you move in with a partner rather than buy a new home at that stage, but any children are going to put pressure on space, which might lead to you moving to a more expensive property.

How much is spent on the weekly food shop?

Weekly food shop cost illustration

Weekly food shops are one of the smaller cost changes when building your family, with each adult costing an additional £18.60 and each child adding only £5.50.

Are car costs driven up?

Car costs illustration

While a standard 5-seater car should suffice for families of up to four, a 7-seater will be needed if you’re going to transport a five-person family or larger, given all the paraphernalia associated with babies and young children. And if you’re buying new, that can be a cost difference of over £10,000.

What do day and boarding private schools cost?

Day school vs boarding school costs illustration

If you want to send your children to private school, it can be very expensive. Each child will cost £13,194 on average for a year of day school - and if you want them to go to a boarding school, the average is £30,369 a child annually.

How much do energy and water bills cost?

Energy bill costs illustration

Utility bills typically start at £1,062 a year for one person and scale up to £1,928 with a family of six. Many families are paying over the odds for their gas and electricity, however - it's always smart to shop around and ensure that you get the best rates for the energy you're using.

What financial support does the government provide to parents?

Child benefit illustration

Child benefit is £20.70 for your first child and an additional £13.70 for every child in your family after that, which can go a long way towards offsetting the increased utility bills and weekly food shops.

Many consumers across the UK are often unaware that they may be on an expensive standard variable energy tariff, find out if you could save on household bills by switching energy at MoneySuperMarket.



All figures are drawn from national averages in the UK and government information:

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