THE cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has reached £222,000 as parents pay 58% more than a decade ago, according to an annual study.
Education and childcare remain the biggest costs, with 76% of parents reporting that they have been forced to make cutbacks to meet the financial demands of raising their offspring, the survey for insurer LV= found.
The overall figure is more than £4,000 up on last year and £82,000 more than 10 years ago, when the first annual Cost of a Child Report was published.
The cost of education, including uniforms, after-school clubs and university costs but not private school fees, has rocketed from £32,593 to £72,832 per child in the last 10 years - a 124% increase.
Childcare costs have increased by 61% from £39,613 in 2003 to £63,738. From birth to 21, parents spend an average of £19,270 on food and £16,195 on holidays per child. Parents reported feeling under pressure to keep up with the latest technological advances, even for children as young as three years old.
More than a quarter of parents (27%) had bought their child an electronic gadget in the last 12 months, with 16% buying a laptop or tablet computer. The average yearly amount parents spend on these gadgets for their child is £302.
The survey found costs have risen in all areas of expenditure apart from clothing, which has seen a 5% drop since 2003. Of the three quarters of parents who are economising to cope with the increases, more than a quarter (27%) are cutting back on essentials such as food, 68% are buying cheaper goods and 56% are using vouchers and discount codes.
LV= spokesman Mark Jones said: "The cost of raising a child continues to soar and is now at a 10-year high. Everyone wants the best for their children but the rising cost of living is pushing parents' finances to the limit. There seems to be no sign of this trend reversing. If the costs associated with bringing up children continue to rise at the same pace, parents could face a bill of over £350,000 in 10 years' time."
The most expensive areas to raise children over the past decade remain London (£239,123), the South East (£237,233) and the East of England (£233,363). Families in the South West have seen the biggest hike in costs, now paying £100,077 more per child than they were 10 years ago.
The cost of a child calculations were compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) in December. Opinium surveyed 2,013 UK adults between December 11 and 13.
© Press Association 2013