Raising girls costs more than bringing up boys

6 Jul, 2016

New research and analysis into the cost of families from Sainsbury’s Bank has found that some children come with a heftier price tag than others. Parents of children under the age of 18 estimated that a daughter is more costly to raise than a son, across all age points.

The survey, which was conducted for the bank’s second Family Finance Report launched today, suggests that it is around £300 a year more expensive to raise a girl at ages 0-5; around £400 a year more at 6-13 years-old and around £600 a year more at 14-18.

Family size

Three quarters (75%) of parents with more than one child said that it was more expensive to raise their first child compared to subsequent children.

These findings align with Sainsbury’s Bank analysis of government data revealing that the ‘cost per head’ of each family member decreases with each subsequent child.

The average one-child family spends £621 per week – 17% (£89.60) – more than the average UK household. While costs continue to increase with subsequent children, however, the ‘cost per head’ of each family member starts to decrease after the first child; by £29 per head for a two-adult, two-child family, and by £31 per head for a two-adult, three or more child family.

Simon Ranson, Head of Banking at Sainsbury’s Bank said: “Families can be expensive, but it’s no surprise that the first child comes with the largest price tag. There’s a lot that families can do to keep these costs down, for example reusing items such as prams and toys for subsequent children. And of course, fixed costs such as accommodation and utilities – as well as the cost of food – don’t always change significantly when there’s more than one small person in the house. Many people say it’s as cheap to cook for two as for one.”

The survey showed that 40% of childhood items are reused; led by toys (72%), books (65%), clothes (64%), cots (60%), prams (59%) and bikes (48%).

Andrew Hagger, Moneycomms.co.uk said: “Couples planning their first child may take a sharp intake of breath when they see the figures in this report but at the same time it provides an important reality check and an idea of what to expect. Whether it’s a boy or a girl, household finances can be turned on their head when the first child is born – a sudden spike in expenditure and potentially less income means that the family purse needs to be managed more closely.

“Building a financial cushion in a savings account can soften the financial impact of starting a family whilst sensible use of interest free credit cards and low cost personal loans can help you to continue to manage the costs as your children grow.”