New figures from the University of Canberra show the average family will spend $537,000 on raising their two children to age 21. A high income family will spend $759,400.
Rising incomes and cheaper imports have meant that children have been eating up roughly the same portion of their parents’ income over the past five years – 23%.
Researchers from the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (Natsem) found that as children aged they got more expensive, costing an average $384 a week from ages 18 to 24, compared to $144 a week when they were born.
The big difference in spending between the middle income and high income earners is education.
While a low-income family spends $19,200 on a government education and child care, a middle-income family spends $49,000 and a high-income family $161,000, most likely on private schooling.
“We find all the way through this that those who could afford to spend more do,” Professor Anne Harding from Natsem said.