SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Think your children are costing you a lot? You're right, with an Australian study finding that the average child now costs $1 million (US$917,000) to raise, taking into account toys, holidays and other activities.
A study on Generation Z and the cost of parenting by social analyst Mark McCrindle found a government estimate that it cost $384,543 to raise a child to 18 was way off as this did not include private education, holidays or "non-essential" items.
It also assumed that children would leave home at 18 but this was no longer the case with Generation Z, those born after 1995, as the costs of accommodation and bills were a deterrent to moving out.
"In today's Australian families the majority of young people stay in the parental home and rely on their parents for some of their expenses until their mid 20's. Therefore the cost per household to raise children to age 24 is $834,000," McCrindle from McCrindle Research said in his report.
He said then you had to add the "non-essential" yet "usual" child rearing expenses such as toys, holidays and travel, dining and entertainment, private tutoring and education, sport and activities, furniture and household equipment dedicated to the children's use.
This boosted costs by another $3,000 per child per year.
"This takes the total parental cost to raise the average number of children (2.7) in Australia to $1,028,093," he said.
McCrindle said parents now do have more money to spend on children than their parents did, making Generation Z the most financial endowed generation of children ever.
McCrindle's research, based on a survey of 4,500 Australians, found the average Australian child had more than 100 toys but that parents threw out or gave away only five toys a year.
Almost all Australians admitted spending more than $100 on toys per child each year, with a small portion saying they splashed out $500.
Girls stopping playing with dolls at the age of six compared to their mothers who played with dolls until age 10 and over half of children's toys are powered or electronic.
"The 21st Century has ushered in a new lifestage: the tweens. Such is the growing sophistication, marketing influence and.....that these pre-teens are fashion aware, brand conscious and peer influenced as much as yesterday's teenagers," he said.
The A$1 million pricetag was broken down into food costing $206,000, housing and utilities $165,000, recreation and entertainment $157,000, health and other services $153,000, clothing and equipment $129,000, transport $123,000, and education and child care $95,000.
Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Sanjeev Miglani