The Cost of Raising a Family Around the UK - OutdoorToys

The most affordable and most expensive areas for families 

With the cost of living rising rapidly, it's getting harder and harder to afford all the necessary expenses that crop up when you’re raising a family. It seems like even playhouses will set you back the price of a bungalow these days. 

So, where are the cheapest and most expensive areas to raise a family? At Outdoor Toys, we’ve dived into the data, looking at the average costs of childcare, rent, utilities and broadband in cities around the country, to find out. 

The most affordable cities 

  • Derry - Total Annual Cost: £14,220
  • Derry in Northern Ireland, takes the top spot as the cheapest place to raise a family with an average annual cost of £14,220. Families in the city can explore the city’s rich history in the Museum of Free Derry, or the Tower Museum. The city ranks highly across the board being the cheapest when it comes to both rent (£7,626 annually) and nursery costs at £4,554 for two children. Derry also ranks second for the cheapest utility bills too, at just £1,454 annually. 

  • Wakefield - Total Annual Cost: £22,520
  • Up next is Wakefield, with families in the Yorkshire city paying an estimated £22,520 every year for rent, utilities and childcare. For families with a keen interest in the history of the region, Wakefield is home to the national coal mining museum and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is perfect for a family day out too. Wakefield has the second cheapest childcare costs of the cities we looked at, paying £11,520 for two children annually. The city also has some of the cheapest rent on the list too, at only £8,400 over 12 months.  

  • Doncaster - Total Annual Cost: £27,518
  • The second Yorkshire city on the list, Doncaster takes third place with an average annual cost of £27,518. Just outside the city is Yorkshire Wildlife Park which is a great place for families to discover the wonders of the natural world. The city performs well as it has one of the cheapest rent prices, costing an average of £7,901 annually for a three-bedroom house.  

    The most expensive cities

  • London - Total Annual Cost: £80,416
  • It comes as no surprise that the capital is the most expensive city to raise a family, with an annual cost of over £80,000 for a family of four. London takes the top spot as the most expensive city for rent, averaging £38,650 annually. Childcare isn’t much cheaper than rent either, costing £37,740 for two children over 12 months.  

  • Westminster - Total Annual Cost: £59,757
  • Up next is Westminster. Raising a family in the city within Greater London will cost nearly £60,000 each year. Over half of this cost is rent, costing an annual average of £31,500. This is followed by childcare costing an estimated £25,098 for two children every year.    

  • Cambridge - Total Annual Cost: £59,475
  • Taking third place is Cambridge, with a total annual cost of £59,475 for a family of four. The biggest contributor to this cost is childcare at £32,430 for two children, costing £8,000 more than rent (£23,975) in the city.  

    The cheapest nurseries

  • Derry - Annual cost: £4,554
  • Access to affordable childcare is vital for parents as it means they don’t have to stay at home sacrificing their careers and salaries to look after their kids. The Northern Irish city of Derry is the cheapest when it comes to childcare, with nurseries charging just over £4,500 a year for two children. 

  • Wakefield - Annual cost: £11,520
  • Childcare is hugely beneficial for kids as it helps them develop important social skills and make new friends in the process too. When it comes to childcare costs, Wakefield takes second place. Childcare providers in the city charge parents an average of £11,520 every year to look after two kids. 

  • Preston - Annual cost: £12,000
  • Nurseries are vital for children’s development as it gives them an early start on their education, laying the foundations of maths and literacy and preparing them for the next step. Families in Preston will feel this benefit for one of the cheapest prices, with nurseries charging parents an average of £12,000 for two children over 12 months.      

    The cheapest rent

  • Derry - Annual cost: £7,626
  • One of the biggest outgoing expenses for families is rent and cheaper rents mean families have more money to spend on doing the things they love to do. Nobody knows this more than families in Derry, as they have the cheapest average annual rent for a three-bedroom house at £7,626. 

  • Doncaster - Annual cost: £7,901
  • As it's cheaper than buying, renting allows families to live in more affluent areas. This means greater access to opportunities for kids, like better schools. Families renting in Doncaster will get the most out of this advantage with the average rent setting them back by just £7,901 a year.   

  • Wakefield - Annual cost: £8,400
  • Renting a home is great for families if they feel the need to move at short notice as it's a lot more flexible than buying or selling a house. Nobody is more aware of this than the residents of Wakefield, where a year’s rent will set families back £8,400, taking it to third place. 

    The cheapest utility bills

  • Portsmouth - Annual cost: £1,424
  • Portsmouth is the city where families spend the least amount of cash on their heating and water bills, making raising a family in the city a lot more affordable than other locations. Families in the city pay an estimated £1,424 over 12 months for their utility bills. 

  • Derry - Annual cost: £1,454
  • Despite the constant energy price hikes, including a recent 16.3% increase in gas prices from energy companies, families in Derry don’t have to worry too much about their utility bills. Residents of the city only spend an average of  £1,454 on their utility bills annually. 

  • Belfast - Annual cost: £1,478
  • Taking third place is Belfast, with the average utility bill setting families back by only £1,478 each year. On top of the cheaper utility prices, the government also recently issued a £600 payment to every household in the region to help families pay their utility bills. 

    The cheapest broadband

  • Salford - Annual cost: £252
  • Staying connected is now more important than ever for families, and modern life wouldn’t be the same without a reliable internet connection. Luckily families in Salford don’t have to worry too much about their broadband, as it only costs them £252 a year.   

  • Newport - Annual cost: £309
  • The ability to instantly communicate with anyone, anywhere, is a fundamental aspect of life for families today; affordable broadband is key in facilitating this. Newport ranks second for its broadband price, with families paying just £309 annually. 

  • Birmingham - Annual cost: £314
  • Broadband is essential for families, allowing parents to work remotely while looking after young children and as a tool for young children to learn. Birmingham takes third place, with families paying £314 a year for their internet connection.  


    The monthly cost of rent, utilities and broadband were taken from Numbeo and multiplied by 12 to find the average annual cost. 

    The monthly cost of nurseries was taken from Numbeo and multiplied by two to find the monthly price for a family of four. This figure was then multiplied by 12 to find the cost over a year. 

    These costs were then combined to find the total annual costs in each city. 

    Data was collected on 29/06/2023.