Cost of a Child in 2023

High inflation pushed the cost of raising a child to £166,000 for a couple and £220,000 for a lone parent in 2023, but the enduring impact of benefit cuts and ongoing price rises have left many parents unable to give their children what the public says is a minimum acceptable living standard, new research by CRSP shows.

The Cost of a Child 2023, produced for Child Poverty Action Group by CRSP, looks at the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and at what families need for a minimum socially acceptable living standard as defined by the public.

It finds that even couple-parent families with both parents working full time at the ‘National Living Wage’ are falling short of the income needed for a decent standard of living.  The combined effects of the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and social security cuts since 2016 have left these couple-parent families with two children £51 short of a decent living standard each week, compared to a shortfall of £37 last year. In 2020 and 2021, temporary pandemic-related and cost-of-living support payments (particularly the £20 universal credit uplift) did briefly raise the incomes of these families to the level needed for a decent living standard, but this respite was short-lived.

Dr. Juliet Stone (Loughborough University), who co-authored the report said:
Our latest analysis highlights the challenges facing many families in reaching a dignified standard of living in 2023. Years of cuts in support have left current benefit levels woefully inadequate, and earnings have not kept pace with rapid increases in costs. Increases in the National Living Wage and local housing allowance this year are welcome, but these will not undo the damage done over the past decade. We need long-term solutions to ensure that all households in the UK can live with dignity.