The Average Cost of Raising a Child From Pregnancy to Childcare in Singapore

Millennials are at the age where they’re either parents, or planning to have children. However, the household size in Singapore has been shrinking through the years. Could this have something to do with the cost of raising a child here? Let’s find out.

ValueChampion Editorial Team

by ValueChampion Editorial Team on May 23, 2024

A millennial family in Singapore going out

The decision to not to have children among millennials is becoming more prevalent, with Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, the United States and a handful of European countries seeing a decline in family size over the past decade.

The reasons for this generation not having a child are plenty. Whether it’s struggling to find financial stability or placing greater priority on career growth, there are a myriad of reasons why people forego having children nowadays.

However, the underlying theme for all of these is money. Having a child is expensive anywhere, but it can be especially costly in developed nations like Singapore.

So, how much does it actually cost to raise a child in Singapore? We fully break down the expenses below.

Pregnancy and Healthcare Costs

pregnant mother
Source: Pexels

Spending money on a child starts before they’re even born, as it’s important for mothers to ensure the wellbeing of their baby. Taking maternity exercise classes to stay in shape and adjusting one’s diet to ensure the fetus receives proper nutrients are just some of the costs faced by couples, in addition to the standard prenatal doctor visits.

In total, prenatal care can cost close to S$3,000 when taking into account ultrasound visits, vitamins, harmony testing, and blood tests.

The average bill for childbirth ranges between S$1,143 and S$7,909 for a normal births or between S$2,228 and S$12,261 for Caesarean section births. In most cases, the cost of childbirth in a subsidised ward will be offset by the MediSave Maternity Package and MediSave limits.

The MediSave Maternity Package is a scheme which allows you to tap on your MediSave funds for these expenses:

  1. Delivery of your baby
  2. Pre-delivery costs, including doctor’s consultations and ultrasound scans

However, couples choosing a B1, A or private hospital wards may end up paying between S$1,500 and S$4,909 in out-of-pocket expenses. In some cases, you may experience pregnancy complications that can add an additional several thousand dollars in out-of-pocket costs, even with coverage from MediShield Life and private insurance.

Type of DeliveryMediSave Maternity Package Limit
Vaginal Delivery (Normal)S$1,650
Vaginal Delivery (Assisted)S$2,150
Caesarean Section (Normal)S$3,050
Caesarean Section (with tubal ligation)S$3,500
Caesarean Section (with hysterectomy)S$4,850

The birth of your child also represents the beginning of a lifetime of healthcare expenses.

Barring any abnormalities and terminal illnesses (which can cost you thousands of dollars over the course of your little one’s childhood), you’ll be responsible for their health insurance premiums and any out of pocket medical and dental costs.

Fortunately, Integrated Shield Plan premiums are reasonably affordable for children, and the full coverage provided by them usually keeps emergency medical attention affordable.

Furthermore, new parents will also receive a MediSave grant of S$4,000 to pay for your child’s MediShield premiums. You can use this grant while your child is a newborn for outpatient visits and vaccinations.

Subsidies Under the Baby Bonus Scheme

In 2023, the Singapore government enhanced the Baby Bonus Scheme. In short, this is how much you stand to receive per child you have from February 2023 onwards:

  • 1st child: Up to S$24,000
  • 2nd child: Up to S$27,000
  • 3rd and 4th child: Up to S$31,000
  • 5th and subsequent child: Up to S$37,000

These cash benefits include the aforementioned MediSave grant, a cash gift per child paid out over a total of 6.5 years, a new Child Development Account (CDA) savings account for your baby with a sum of money in it, and dollar-for-dollar matching when you add more funds into the CDA.

What’s more, working fathers also enjoy up to four weeks of government-paid paternity leave. Although this policy isn’t compulsory for companies in Singapore right now, it’s set to change soon.

Best Maternity Insurance in SingaporeFind Out More

Education Costs

A group of graduating students in Singapore
Source: Unsplash

While Singapore schools aren’t as expensive as institutions in other countries, educational expenses will still cost you a hefty amount.

Your cheapest expense will be your child’s primary and secondary education because Singapore citizens pay anywhere from S$13 to S$600 per month, depending on the school’s status: government or independent. Educational institutions with the latter status have the freedom to set their own fee structure and programmes.

However, if your child is attending an international school, costs can increase to S$17,000-S$48,500 per year.

Enrichment classes cost another S$1,300-S$1,910 per year as well. If your child takes three to four enrichment classes per year throughout their compulsory education years, the total cost would be over S$70,600.

Early education programmes like infant care and day care programmes can also cost quite a fair bit.

For instance, the total cost for 16 months of infant care is approximately S$21,824. The total cost for a three-year childcare programme averages out at S$25,680.

Lastly, university education represents the heftiest cost. A full programme at any of Singapore’s six publicly-funded autonomous schools ranges from S$20,760 to $140,000. The exact amount depends on the major your child is pursuing, and on the bright side, they’ll be able to soften the blow because Singaporeans are automatically enrolled into the Tuition Grant Scheme.

After adding everything up, education expenses can set you back as much as S$308,280. This assumes that your child is enrolled in a three-year childcare programme, attends an independent school for their primary and secondary education while taking enrichment classes during that whole stretch, and pursues a Bachelor’s Degree like Medicine or Dentistry.

However, it would be unfair to disregard the schemes and subsidies that are available to low-income households, which can bring down the education cost significantly. For instance, students attending government and government-aided schools whose families qualify for the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) can get free textbooks, uniforms, and subsidised lunches. They also do not have to pay any standard miscellaneous or supplementary fees.

Furthermore, the tuition fees for post-secondary education institutions are also highly subsidised, with additional schemes available for Singaporeans that can reduce costs by up to S$4,000 per year.

Lastly, working mothers can qualify for subsidies for infant and child care that reduce those expenses up to 35%-44%.

Compare Best Education Loans in SingaporeFind Out More

Housing Costs

A homeowner in Singapore researching home insurance policies
Source: Pexels

While living in a smaller apartment may be comfortable for an individual or couple, you may require more space once you have a child. This means that couples will usually have to either buy a new home which is larger or upgrade their current house to accommodate their new family member(s).

Upgrading or buying a home can be a considerable cost, considering how expensive property in Singapore is. As of 2024, the average cost of a home is S$4.19 million. This figure might be skewed by the inclusion of landed properties, but HDB flats aren’t exactly cheap either.

If you’re having children, you’d want a 4-room HDB flat at least. Even if you’re only having one child, the final bedroom can be used as a home office or games room. On average, this would set you back S$490,000 to S$928,000.

Fortunately, should you be upgrading homes instead of buying a new one, you’ll be offsetting the cost with the money gained from selling your current home.

Whether you decide to buy a new home or upgrade your current one, you’ll spend money to furnish your child’s room—and then re-furnishing it several times later to match their age. Calculating how much you’ll spend in total varies as people require different items at different stages of life.

Compare Best Home Loans in SingaporeFind Out More

Additional Help

cleaning a sink
Source: Pexels

If both you and your spouse are working, it may be necessary to enlist additional help to care for your child during the day.

Furthermore, enlisting your relatives consistently may be difficult since more and more seniors are working to keep themselves financially stable or independent. This leaves many parents with the option of hiring external help, be it a part-time nanny or a full-time domestic worker.

Suppose you hire a part-time babysitter for four hours – between your child coming home from school and you returning from work – at a rate of S$20 per hour. This translates to about S$1,600 per month.

A full-time nanny will be even more expensive, due to the comprehensiveness of their care and professional training. Assuming they earn S$3,500 a month, you’ll be forking out S$42,000 annually.

Alternatively, full-time foreign domestic helpers (FDW) will set you back S$14,000 for the first year including one time costs and then S$12,500 thereafter.

In addition to this expense, you will also have to take care of a new member of your household—one that you will have to provide for almost in the same capacity as your child. Not only can that add stress to your life, but it can also increase the risk of unforeseen expenses if your domestic worker has an accident or becomes ill.

Compare Best Maid Insurance Plans in SingaporeFind Out More

The Total Cost of Raising a Child in Singapore

Excluding subsidies, the first 21 years of your child’s life will cost a maximum of around S$476,189. This amount only includes absolutely essential costs (childbirth fees at the hospital, educational expenses, and a part-time nanny for a decade), stripping out the cost of a new home and other variable expenses, such as food, clothing, and vacations.

The cost of raising a child in Singapore for millennials is indeed daunting, but do bear in mind the many subsidies, grants, and rebates you’ll receive as a parent. Additionally, you and your spouse still have multiple opportunities to make great strides forward in your career and/or grow your number of income streams.

You’ll definitely need to cut back on certain expenses to comfortably afford having a child, but you won’t have to scrimp and save to give them a fulfilling and healthy childhood.

Furthermore, this guide isn’t saying you’ll be better off financially if you choose to not have children. A child can bring value to a family that’s not quantifiable.

Rather, this article can be used as a hypothetical breakdown for curious couples who want know whether they can afford to give a child the life they imagine for them.

As with most hypothetical scenarios, these costs are aggregates of the status quo and will not reflect everyone’s individual situation. Your cost of raising your child may be more or less than the costs calculated above.

If you want to take the sting out of your daily expenses now and be rewarded for your spending, check out the best credit cards in Singapore, which can offer more value from every spend you make, from cashback to rewards cards, to help yourself save up quicker for your family plans.

Compare Best Credit Cards in SingaporeFind Out More

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Cover image source: Unsplash


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