Reference budgets for families, UNAF, France (2016)


It was almost at the moment of its creation (in 1945), at a time when France was fully engaged in its own reconstruction and the inflation rate was extremely high, that UNAF decided that it wished to develop a tool which would enable families to estimate the cost of living. At the time, UNAF was a member of the High Commission for Collective Bargaining (CSCC), which was responsible for negotiating the SMIG (guaranteed minimum inter-professional salary), which was the predecessor of the SMIC (statutory minimum wage).

Aims of the initiative

Our objectives of this project were as follows:

  • To evaluate living conditions.
  • To assess the adequacy of welfare payments.
  • Debt mediation and advice regarding excessive debt.
  • Financial/budgetary education.

The reference budgets are aimed at researchers, NGOs and civil society representatives (family representatives on commissions for excessive debt, housing…), courts, (family judges and lawyers in the event of the separation of a family in order to set maintenance payments) and families. Indeed, there are currently eight categories of family budget, including two for large families and two for single parent families. Finally, it is also useful for social workers who provide budget support services.

Concrete actions

The reference budgets, which are accessible via the following website address,, are updated on a monthly basis for 8 family categories for both the total budget and the budget lines (housing, transport, health, food…). All of the documentation is available and updated (with the latest advice and data) and it also provides an explanation of the major quarterly changes.

Financial information

The budget for drawing up the reference budgets has not been calculated (it is only possible to place a figure on the cost of putting the information in the data base).


Our UDAF network and UNAF’s family representatives.


These figures show the increase in the number of visitors to the website: 2012 – 9,130 (the reference budgets were posted on line in June), 2013 – 17,050, 2014 – 21,080, and 19,070 in the first nine months of 2015.

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