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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