Wed, 12 Apr 06
The size of the average British family is shrinking under the potential financial burden of bringing up children.
According the new research from Skipton Building Society, many people are giving up their aspirations to make a family and the average family now has 1.3 children, almost half the 2.4 of former times.
The overwhelming factor in family downsizing is financial, with 89% of respondents under pressure from the rising cost of living. So much so that 20% have decided not to have any children at all - with 30% of men preferring to stay childless, compared to 16% of women.
Of those planning not to have kids, 37% say it's because they're unwilling to compromise their lifestyle, whilst a further 15% are put off by the cost of raising a child.
Pressure on the purse strings is also an issue for some people who already have children. One in five (21%) say they won't be having any more because they simply can't afford it.
For others, however, the desire to be a parent is so strong that it's not a case of 'if', just a case of 'when' - but still, much of this timing is down to finances. Some 39% of 25-34 year olds say they have delayed or are delaying parenthood due to their financial situation - and 24% have waited more than five years.
In order to fulfil their maternal and paternal aspirations, most people are realistic about the sacrifices they would have to make if they added to their family - 42% would have to take fewer holidays, 36% wouldn't be able to save any money for a rainy day, and 16% wouldn't be able to return to work due to the cost of childcare.
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