The little kid stands beaming in the center, with mom and dad holding her hand on either side. According to “Families in Switzerland,” a new report by the Federal Statistical Office, the overwhelming majority of all men and women under 30 in Switzerland dream of the happiness of having a child.
But not everyone who wants a baby will actually go on to have one. Many love-struck couples ask themselves anxiously: “Can we afford to start a family yet?” The patter of tiny feet also represents a cost factor.
1,000 francs per month
A child increases a couple's consumer spending by an average of 942 francs a month – not counting health insurance premiums. Parents must anticipate additional costs of 11,304 francs each year for household expenses alone. By the time the child is 18, this will have added up to over 200,000 francs!
The parental wallet comes under the greatest strain when the child reaches the age of 11 – and their hobbies and education need to be paid for.
The good news is that with every additional child, the cost per child falls. Families with two children have to spend 1,508 francs per month for both of them together. If they go on to have three children, the cost will increase, but only to 1,821 francs – i.e. just 607 francs per child.
There is a good reason why each extra child is proportionately less expensive: certain purchases such as a car seat or tricycle are only required for the first child, and items can then be reused for other siblings.
Single parents have it tough
According to the Federal Statistical Office, families in Switzerland generally manage to make ends meet, despite these extra costs. Their standard of living is among the highest in Europe – with one exception: single parents have to fork out an extra 1,201 francs per child each month, again excluding health insurance premiums. It is often childcare costs that push up the budget. This may be why almost a third of single-parent households complain about financial difficulties – and are frequently dependent on social welfare.
If parents suddenly have to tighten their belts, it’s not just because of the extra costs. The family income often drops when a baby arrives – for example if one parent – in most cases the mother – gives up their job or cuts down on their working hours. The only compensation received is child allowances of at least 200 francs per month, or 250 francs for children of school age.