NS&I’s ‘Families, Finance and the Future’ report has shown that before having children, Britons believe you should have an income of at least £25,000 per annum to ensure financial security, while 20% of those surveyed said that they would seriously consider not having children because the cost of having them nowadays is so high.
The NS&I report, Families, Finance and the Future, was written by the Future Foundation and commissioned by NS&I. The report was produced by a combination of desk research and original survey work. Figures taken from a nationally representative sample of 1,049 adults aged 16+. Other sources the report used include the British Household Panel Survey, the ONS, Eurobarometer, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and previous surveys conducted by the Future Foundation.
Almost two-thirds (64%) said people should be financially secure before starting a family, while 78% agreed that the standard of living was an influencing factor when deciding on how many children to have. Just 26% of Britons believe that money shouldn’t be a consideration when deciding to start a family.
Tim Mack, NS&I Savings Spokesman, said: “Starting a family is always going to be much more than a purely economic decision, though for some the financial requirement is clearly an income of £25,000 per year. Britons are also considering their financial future when deciding on the number of children they will have.”
More than one in ten respondents (12%) thought that those thinking of starting a family should be earning between £40,000 and £70,000 before having children, while a similar number (13%) believed that they didn’t need anything as they would always be able to get by. Men were more likely to suggest a bigger financial cushion than women – £27,000 per year, compared to just £23,000 for women – while people without children gave much higher estimates, saying people should be earning at least£30,000.
As well as looking at the situation for individuals, the report also argues that finances and families are linked on a larger, macroeconomic, level.
Barry Clark, Account Director at the Future Foundation, said: “Baby booms tend to follow economic booms and the reverse is true too. Our data suggests that over the past 60 years, GDP growth and the change in birth rates in the UK have been closely linked, so we expect that the coming years will show more than ever that finances and families are related on both a personal and national economic scale.”
The primary consideration influences on the number of children people decide to have appeared to be common:
78% – standard of living they can give their children
73% – meeting the cost of raising their children
51% – size of the house they can afford to raise their family in
39% – education they can make sure their children receive
It is evident that perceived affluence has an effect on the birth rate. In fact, Future Foundation research and the British Household Panel Survey both have shown that in European countries where more people have an income that is either in line with or above their financial expectations, families bear more children.
Barry Clark added: “The highest earners would seem less likely to have larger families owing to the demands of, and devotion to, their careers, or a sharper awareness of just how much children cost to raise.”