Photo Credit: Vince Alongi via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Vince Alongi via Compfight cc

The cost of raising a child in the capital cities of Australia is the subject of a recent study – and Hobart comes in around the middle. The article below from The Mercury talks with the researcher about the study and what it means.

The average cost of raising a child until the age of 18 is: (per table presented in the print edition of The Sunday Tasmanian).

Hobart – $268,629
Adelaide – $251,501
Brisbane – $294,197
Darwin – $324,105
Melbourne – $294,418
Perth – $332,442
Sydney – $234,192

For Hobart, this is where the money goes….

Housing – $49,608
Energy – $7,404
Food – $57,956
Clothing – $13,799
Household goods and services – $21,587
Child care – $85,795
Health – $6,739
Transport – $3,939
Leisure – $15,355
Personal care – $6,447

This story from The Mercury.

Cost of Raising a Child

Hobart has been ranked as Australia’s fourth most affordable city in which to raise children.

The cost of raising a first child to the age of 18 in Hobart is just over a quarter of a million dollars, or $268,629, according to the only state-by-state breakdown of the cost of kids in Australia. This was below the national average of $276,445.

Childcare is by far the biggest cost for parents. Full-time working parents in Hobart will shell out $85,795 for childcare, even taking into account subsidies.

Food is the second-biggest expense.A healthy diet, including some takeaway food but no restaurant meals adds up to $57,956.

Housing costs are also a big item, costing $49,608 extra to move to a house with one more bedroom.

The research, by associate professor Paul Henman of the School of Social Work and Human Services at the University of Queensland, uses a “budget standards” approach. Dr Henman’s work has been used by the Federal Government to set child support payments. Rather than tracking what parents actually spend on their children, it measures the changing cost of providing a “modest but adequate” upbringing for a child representing “middle Australia”.

“There is no fixed or absolute cost of a child,” Dr Henman told the Sunday Tasmanian. “Costs of children estimates using this approach measure what is needed to be spent to meet community standards, rather than what can be afforded.”

Generally, second and third children cost less, Dr Henman said. “The cost of the first child is often greater than that for each subsequent child. This is due to economies of scale resulting from hand-me-downs and shared infrastructure.”

The survey does not include spending on private school fees, private health insurance, the lost income of parents from not working, or costs incurred after age 18, like university or paying for weddings.

Tasmanian mum Amanda Crane said $260,000 to raise a child was not a shock. “I’m not surprised it’s more than a quarter of a million dollars I’d easily believe that. I would have actually expected the cost be even more,” the hospitality worker said yesterday. Her partner, David Goodfellow, is a fly-in-fly-out shipmaster and said the cost of basic everyday items like clothing and food also kept costs up. They agreed education will be the biggest cost in raising children with the increased reliance on technology.

“Whether you like it or not, your child needs to have access to a computer. And it doesn’t stop there, kids expect more and more to have gadgets like iPods and iPads too,” Ms Crane said. “We would like to send them to private schools, and they will need to board, which is extra cost too.”

Dr Henman says in reality, parents are spending more on their kids because they can. “The cost of raising a child increases with household income. Higher-income households have greater living standards, which children share.”

Even so, the basic costs add up. In their first 18 years, raising a child in Hobart will cost $6739 in trips to the dentist and pharmaceutical drugs. Toys, books and a one-week domestic holiday each year will cost $15,355. Even personal-care items such as shampoo, toothbrushes and haircuts add up to $6447. Having a child adds an extra $7404 to electricity and gas bills. Petrol costs and having to upgrade to a bigger car can also add up to $3939.

If you have moved to Tasmania, how have you found the cost of living compared to other parts of Australia?