The paper is a collection of three reports on the costs of children in Australian families:
- The estimated costs of children in Australian families in 2005/06
- Updated costs of children using Australian budget standards; and
- Costs of children and equivalence scales: a review of methodological issues and Australian estimates.
Read an older report here
This volume brings together three reports on the costs of children in Australian families:
The estimated costs of children in Australian families in 2005
Updated costs of children using Australian budget standards
Costs of children and equivalence scales: a review of methodological issues and Australian estimates
The research was commissioned by the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support to enable it to fulfil two of its terms of reference, as set by the House of Representatives Committee on Family and Community Affairs (the Committee) in its report on child custody arrangements in the event of family separation.* It is against a background of changes since the late 1980s to the circumstances of Australian families, as well as the ongoing public concern about aspects of the Child Support Scheme, that this research has taken place.
The Taskforce utilised three different methodologies to reach the best and most up-to-date estimates possible of the costs of children in Australian families. The Household Expenditure Survey was used to examine actual patterns of expenditure on children. The Budget Standards approach was utilised to assess how much parents would need to spend to give children a specific standard of living, taking account of differences in housing costs all over Australia. A review was also done of all previous Australian and international research on the costs of children, so that the outcomes of these two studies could be compared with previous research findings.
A consistent theme running through each report is that there are no definitive costs of children. Various methodologies for estimating expenditure on children exist, and each produces a different result. Establishing a robust and defensible overall estimate, therefore, involves the exercise of judgement by experts, using the best available evidence. I am confident there is no better evidence on the costs of children in 21st century Australia than that used by the Taskforce, and presented in this paper.