Our annual Cost of a Child report this year finds that:
- The overall cost of a child up to age 18 (including rent and childcare) is £185,000 for lone parents (up 19% since 2012) and £151,000 for couples (up 5.5% since 2012).
- Childcare costs, for those requiring childcare, now comprise nearly half of all the costs of a child.
- The gap between lone parents’ actual income and what they need to meet family needs has grown sharply: lone parents working full time for the so-called national living wage ('NLW') are 21% (£80 a week) short of what they need – after paying for rent, childcare and council tax - a gap that has more than doubled from 10% since 2012. For those working half-time for the ‘NLW’, the income gap has jumped from 12% to 24% since 2012, and is now £92 a week.
- Even lone parents working full time on median earnings can’t reach a decent minimum living standard, falling £60 a week short: for them the shortfall has risen to 16% from 6% in 2012.
- With no increase in cash terms in child benefit since 2015 (but a return of inflation since 2016), child benefit now covers less than a sixth of the cost of a child for a lone parent and barely a fifth for a couple.
- Parents in a couple who both work full time for the 'NLW' are 10% (£47 a week) short of a socially acceptable minimum living standard. Where one parent works half time and the other full time (both on ‘NLW’), the shortfall is 14% (£64 a week).