Data reveals the average cost to raise a child in 2023 reaches almost £200,000

by | Sep 17, 2023

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Analysing expenditure on necessities and luxuries, a new study by Shepherds Friendly has revealed how much it could be costing parents to raise a child in the UK.

  • The average cost of raising a child in the UK is £190,124
  • Spending on household necessities could amount to £142,507 on average over the course of 18 years
  • Full time childcare costs could set parents back £80,625 from the ages zero to 11

From nursery fees and nappies, to new clothes and pocket money, there are so many costs associated with bringing up a child. But just how much can parents in the UK expect to spend throughout their kid’s childhood?

Looking at various factors, including the cost of childcare, essential items, and recreational activities, new research from Shepherds Friendly has determined the average cost of raising children, from birth through to age 18 (please note that these figures are based on average figures and may vary due to inflation).   


The full research can be found here: 

The average cost of raising a child in the UK is £190,124

Taking into account the many different factors associated with raising children, the research has revealed that the total average cost of bringing up a child in the UK is £190,124.*


Starting from their very early years, the cost of children can really add up. Nappies, for instance, cost a total of £825 on average over the course of two years, while part-time pre-school childcare costs around £23,002 in total from the ages of zero to four, or £44,510 in total for full-time care.

Even once kids start school they still need to be supervised if their parents are working. After-school clubs average around £1,557 per year for part-time and full-time working parents, while child care throughout the summer holidays is around £960 per year on average.

Spending on household necessities could amount to £142,507 on average over the course a child’s life

Essential items are also very pricey, assuming that a parent is covering these expenses until the child is 18. The average cost of food and drink for each child is around £26 per week looking at the average person per family household in the UK, which adds up to £24,258 in total over the course of 18 years. 


Housing, fuel, and power is a little more expensive, costing an estimated £34,203 per child from the age of zero to 18 based on data per person of the average UK family household. Clothing and footwear is around £6,864 overall, while school uniforms total around £4,205 over the course of the child’s school life. 

Taking into account spending on necessities only, the study reveals it could be costing parents an estimated £142,507** to raise a child from birth to adulthood.

It costs an average of £208,868 to bring up a child in UK with full-time childcare


Many parents will be working full-time jobs while raising a child, and will need to be paying for full-time childcare to make this possible. 

With guidance suggesting children shouldn’t be left supervised until the age of 12, full-time childcare could be setting parents back £80,625 between the ages of zero and 12 (including preschool childcare, after school care and care during the summer holidays). Meanwhile, childcare costs for part-time parents could amount to £43,135, just over half of what it costs full-time parents.

Taking into account costs for full time childcare, the study reveals it could cost full time working parents £208,868 to raise a child, whilst it could cost part time working parents requiring part time childcare £171,379 to raise a child.


Parents spend an average of £5,173 on pocket money throughout the course of a child’s life

With children receiving an average of £7 a week in pocket money between the ages of four and 17, or £370 per year, this means children receive £5,173 in total throughout their childhood. Parents pay the highest amount in pocket money to their child once they reach 17 (£15 per week on average, which amounts to £755 in one year). 

The below table shows the full breakdown of spending on the metrics analysed, including necessities such as food and transport, added extras such as pocket money, as well as averages for part-time and full-time childcare:

AgeItemWeekly cost per childYearly cost per childNumber of yearsTotal cost per child**
0-2Cost of nappies£7.94£412.652£825.30
0-4Cost of childcare/nursery (full-time)£213.99 (average for children aged 0-4)£11,127.42 (average for children aged 0-4)4£44,509.66 (total for 0-4 year olds altogether)
0-4Cost of childcare/nursery (part-time)£110.59 (average for children aged 0-4)£5,750.62 (average for children aged 0-4)4£23,002.46 (total for 0-4 year olds altogether)
4-12Cost of after school club (full- time)£66.52£2,594.288£20,754.24
4-12Cost of after school club (part-time)£39.91£1,556.578£12,452.54
4-12Price of holiday childcare (full-time)£147.70£1,920.108£15,360.80
4-12Price of holiday childcare (part-time)£147.70£960.058£7,680.40
0-18Food and non-alcoholic beverages£25.92£1,347.6718£24,258
0-18Housing, fuel and power£36.54£1,900.1718£34,203
0-18Recreation and culture£23.38£1,215.5018£21,879
0-18Clothing and footwear£7.33£381.3318£6,864
4-17Pocket money£7.11 (average across 14 years)£369.53 (average across 14 years)14£5,173.48
4-11School uniform (Primary)£6.06£315.008£2,520.00
12-16School uniform (Secondary)£6.48£337.005£1,685.00
4-18Swimming lessons£14£7282.5£1,820

Derence Lee, Shepherds Friendly Chief Finance Officer says: “While there will always be significant costs associated with raising a child, there are some simple steps you can take to make your money go further throughout your child’s life. For example, you can shop secondhand and opt for free or low cost activities to do on weekends and holidays.

“It’s also important to teach your child about the benefits of saving money to help them with their money management in the future. For example, setting up a Junior ISA allows you to save money on behalf of your child without paying tax on any gains the savings plan makes, whilst also encouraging them to put any savings they may have into this account. Opening a plan as soon as possible and saving small amounts into it regularly is an efficient way for them to save for the long-term, whether you want to help your child buy a car, or perhaps put money towards a house deposit.”

For more information on the cost of raising a child, see the full results here:


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