July 24, 2007 Disposable income levels are a good indicator of an area's living standards - and the spare cash that filters down to the younger generation as pocket money is a prime example. Looking at the latest UK figures, it seems times are pretty good for the average youngster. In the last 20 years, the average UK child's pocket money allowance has leapt by over 600%, rising six times faster than the rate of inflation. Technology seems to be a key driver in the increase, with many children using pocket money to pay for mobile phones and video games they didn't have access to in the past.
The 20th Anniversary Halifax Pocket Money Survey is a series of research pieces published by Halifax, examining the saving and spending habits of seven to 16 year olds. At its inception in 1987, the average UK child surveyed was getting by on £1.13 a week, while the 2007 figure is £8.01.
The 2007 figure is actually a slight drop from the peak figure of £8.37 recorded in 2005, but it still represents an increase of more than 600% in comparison to the inflation rate of 99% over the same period. The steepest period of increase was between 1998 and 2004, when it leapt 444% in four years.
The survey also breaks down pocket money rates by region - the kids of the South East are the winners here, raking in £10.43 a week, while the North East region's parents are the stingiest, only doling out £5.70. London was very close to average, with £8.16 being the average weekly allowance.
Where's it being spent? While snacks and drinks are still a popular purchase, the big spending differs greatly by gender. Girls spend most of their pocket money on clothes, and boys are putting theirs towards computer games and equipment. Both sexes spend significant amounts on mobile phone bills and going out.
Among children who save their pocket money, more than half said they weren't saving for anything in particular, compared to only 4% of respondents in 1987. Those who were saving for something in particular tended towards computer games and holidays as their savings targets.