The cost of a child in 2014

The cost of bringing up children is a crucial factor affecting family wellbeing and poverty. Many parents find it hard to afford the additional expense that children bring, while often having less disposable income because of caring responsibilities or care costs.

In 2014, the UK economy is starting to grow after the longest period of shrinkage and stagnation in recent times. In these difficult years, families have become less able to afford an adequate living standard, as the cost of bringing up a child has risen much faster than earnings, while help from the state to cover these costs has shrunk. Although wages are now forecast to start growing again, in real terms, the uprating of family benefits and tax credits has been capped at a level below inflation. This means that the reduced living standards being experienced by families on low incomes is not only persisting, but could continue to get worse.

In 2012, the Child Poverty Action Group and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation supported a study developing a systematic calculation of the cost of a child. This report is the second annual update of that calculation, and also assesses the changing relationship between the cost of a child and the wages and benefits of families on low incomes.This year’s report also considers some of the key drivers pushing up the cost of living for families.

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