Raising Girls Pricier Than Boys

06 July 2016

  • Daughters cost more to raise at all age points under 18
  • One fifth of family income goes directly on children
  • The first child is the costliest

Our children are all priceless, but new research and analysis into the cost of families from Sainsbury’s Bank has found that some children come with a heftier price tag than others. Parents of children under the age of 18 estimated that a daughter is more costly to raise than a son, across all age points(1).

The survey, which was conducted for the bank’s second Family Finance Report launched today, suggests that it is around £300 a year more expensive to raise a girl at ages 0-5; around £400 a year more at 6-13 years-old and around £600 a year more at 14-18(1).

Table 1: Average cost of raising a child by gender and age group, 2016(1)

Average cost of raising a child by gender and age group 2016

The reasons for this may be varied but government data(2) shows that girls’ clothing is  more expensive than boys for example, and as girls grow, they begin to purchase women’s clothing, shoes, bags and accessories. 

The bank’s second Family Finance Report, ‘The Family Lifecycle – The Learner Years’ was authored by Jasmine Birtles, Founder of MoneyMagpie, who joined Sainsbury’s Bank’s panel of personal finance experts along with Andrew Hagger and Melanie Wright, to offer individuals and families help and guidance with their money.

Jasmine says: “Of course, sugar and spice and all things nice would cost more than slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails, but I’m surprised that parents feel that even when small, their daughters cost more than their sons. Are parents buying more outfits for their tiny girls?” 

The survey findings(1) also showed that parents of children under the age of 25 estimated that on average, just over one-fifth (21%) of their monthly household income is spent directly on items for their children.

Family size

Three quarters (75%) of parents with more than one child said that it was more expensive to raise their first child compared to subsequent children(1).

These findings align with Sainsbury’s Bank analysis of government data(3) revealing that the ‘cost per head’ of each family member decreases with each subsequent child.

The average one-child family spends £621 per week – 17% (£89.60) – more than the average UK household(3). While costs continue to increase with subsequent children, however, the ‘cost per head’ of each family member starts to decrease after the first child; by £29 per head for a two-adult, two-child family, and by £31 per head for a two-adult, three or more child family.

Average weekly cost of different household compositions in the UK, 2015

Simon Ranson, Head of Banking at Sainsbury’s Bank said: “Families can be expensive, but it’s no surprise that the first child comes with the largest price tag. There’s a lot that families can do to keep these costs down, for example reusing items such as prams and toys for subsequent children. And of course, fixed costs such as accommodation and utilities – as well as the cost of food – don’t always change significantly when there’s more than one small person in the house. Many people say it’s as cheap to cook for two as for one.”

The survey showed that 40% of childhood items are reused; led by toys (72%), books (65%), clothes (64%), cots (60%), prams (59%) and bikes (48%).

Andrew Hagger, Moneycomms.co.uk said: “Couples planning their first child may take a sharp intake of breath when they see the figures in this report but at the same time it provides an important reality check and an idea of what to expect. Whether it’s a boy or a girl, household finances can be turned on their head when the first child is born – a sudden spike in expenditure and potentially less income means that the family purse needs to be managed more closely.

“Building a financial cushion in a savings account can soften the financial impact of starting a family whilst sensible use of interest free credit cards and low cost personal loans can help you to continue to manage the costs as your children grow.”

Financial writer and mum of two, Melanie Wright said: “There’s no escaping the fact that, whatever their gender, your little bundle of joy could easily end up costing you bundles of cash. The key to keeping control of your finances is to budget carefully and make sure you know exactly what you have coming in and going out of your account each month.

“Budgeting enables you to know exactly what you can afford to spend without being pushed into debt. Remember you don’t have to buy everything new – young children don’t care whether something has come straight from a shop or if it’s been passed down from someone else, so borrow or buy second-hand whenever you can. If you’re planning on having more children, keep hold of anything that you can re-use, and sell on any items you have finished with.”

Sainsbury’s Bank launched its first Family Finance Report earlier this year, announcing the creation of the panel at the same time. Information on the Sainsbury’s Bank panel can be found here: insert web address

Simon Ranson concluded: “Our expert panel has been a great sounding board as we continue to help customers consider their finances and live well for less.”


This press release is information for journalists only and is not intended to be a promotion to be acted upon by consumers.

To download a full copy of the second Family Finance Report please visit the following link: http://www.moneymagpie.com/ebook/im-not-made-money-budgeting-tips-stressed-parents

For further information, please contact:

Natasha Virtue, Lorna Gilmour or Jennifer Johnston-Watt, Sainsbury’s Bank on 0131 286 0010 / bank_communications@sainsburys.co.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. Sainsbury’s Bank commissioned Opinium Research to survey 2,016 nationally representative UK adults aged 18+ between 27th to 31st May 2016. Opinium Research is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules
  2. Sainsbury’s Bank analysis of weekly expenditure on boys’ and girls’ outer garments from the ONS Family Spending: 2015 report, published 8th December 2015 (latest data available).
  3. Sainsbury’s Bank analysed data from the ONS Family Spending: 2015 Report during April 2016To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury’s Bank online media centre at www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/media Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Bank provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times. Our products consistently top best buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service. Sainsbury’s Bank plc. Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury’s Bank plc is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).