Research published by the Australian Institute of Family studies reveals the weekly cost of raising children in unemployed and low-income families.

It found the minimum cost of raising one child ranges from $140 to $170 a week, reports SMH.

The figures are likely to influence future calls for an increase to the minimum wage and income support.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales’ social policy unit used a “budget standards” approach to work out the weekly cost: they identified all items required to reach a certain standard of “healthy” living, priced each one and came up with a total cost.

The researchers found the largest single contribution to the overall family budget in all cases was housing costs. For example, an unemployed couple with two children spends one-third of their income on housing.

Other costs included increased energy bills, and transport costs associated with ferrying children to school and activities.

“We included the costs of mobile phones, which are now commonplace, and what it costs to feed and clothe children by pricing shelf items in stores like Woolworths and Kmart,” he said.

“The results provide important data for assessing how much income unemployed and low-paid families need, and can guide the setting of the Newstart allowance and the minimum wage,” Professor Saunders said.

The new budget standards found the estimated weekly costs for low-paid families to raise two children (a six-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy) is $340 a week, or $170 per child. At the lower, unemployed standard, the costs of raising two children was $280 a week.

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  • Not even close in my house. Live in a regional area, be sensible with money. Grow food and buy clothes and stuff second hand. Life gets a whole lots easier.


  • I agree. Also housing prizes are different per area. We have 4 kids and pay $700 rent per week. So the weekly costs for housing is high. It also depends if you have any special need children. We have a child with Down Syndrome and a child with RAD which needs ongoing psychological care ($180 per session). The financial pressure can be high.


  • This isn’t really informative without a breakdown of what they included and what they priced things at. It is also difficult to define this if you are including housing as this varies significantly depending on the location and regardless of other factors it is essential to be near family support when raising children so moving locations to a more affordable area may not be viable.


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