The cost of raising children in Australia has jumped by 50% in six years.
The news comes from an Income and Wealth Report, to be released today, showing an average middle income Australian family is spending about $812,000 to raise two children to the age of 24. This is an increase of $275,000 since 2007 and $364,000 since 2002.
''The cost of raising children is significant,” Ben Phillips, Principal Research Fellow with National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) told ABC Radio this morning.
“But much of the cost is discretionary. High income families are spending more on their children than low income families.” He said the cost for high income families can be as much as $1.1 million."
“The big drivers in cost between middle income and high income families is education and childcare, but both sets of parents also spend more in terms of transport, food, clothing and extra-curricular activities.”
Education and childcare are also considered to be an investment in the future of the child, the family and the community.
Mr Phillips told ABC Radio that low income families spend a greater proportion of their income on children but also receive more government assistance.
The cost of child care has also risen sharply since 2007 which is reflected in the data. A woman from the Northern Beaches area of Sydney recently told Fairfax Media that her childcare costs for two children are $82,000 a year.
Older children, aged 18 to 24, cost more per week, and additional children cost less than the first child.