Cost of raising a child reaches £229,250
The cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has hit an all-time high of £229,251, up 3% from £222,458 this time last year, according to insurer LV=.
It says the cost has risen by almost twice the rate of annual inflation over the last 12 years, with parents now spending nearly a third (29%) of their annual household income on raising a child.
The largest cost is education (including school uniforms, books, stationery, trips, lunch and university fees), which accounts for an average of £74,319 per child for non-fee paying school. Parents that send their children to private school must find an additional £129,030.
LV= says education costs have rocketed by 128% since it commissioned the first report in 2003.
The second largest cost is childcare, which accounts for an average of £67,586, rising to £81,276 in London and is at its peak in the first four years of a child's life, when nursery fees must be paid and/or childminders required.
Myles Rix, managing director of protection at LV=, said: "Having children has never been more expensive and, with costs such as childcare and education continuing to rise, for many families across the UK this is set to remain a pressure point.
"No parent wants their child to go without and given a significant chunk of a family's income is spent on children, it is important that parents take steps to secure their household's financial future."
Other costs faced by parents include food (£19,517), hobbies and toys (£9,377), holidays (£16,675), clothing (£10,942), leisure and recreation (£7,486), and pocket money (£4,603).
Regionally, London and the South East of England remain the most expensive areas to raise a family - at a cost of £249,763 and £243,282 respectively. Yorkshire & Humber and Wales are the cheapest, at a respective £213,717 and £214,162.
An increase in the general level of prices that persists over a period of time. The inflation rate is a measure of the average change over a period, usually 12 months. If inflation is up 4%, this means the price of products and services is 4% higher than a year earlier, requiring we spend and extra 4% to buy the same things we bought 12 months ago and that any savings and investments must generate 4% (after any taxes) to keep pace with inflation. Since 2003, the Bank of England has used the consumer prices index (CPI) as its official measure of inflation (see also retail prices index).