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How much does financing a family cost?

ByDave Stopher

Mar 7, 2018

As a mum, you’ll know just how important family is. In the UK alone, there are 18.9 million families, according to the Office for National Statistics’ Family and Households in the UK bulletin. But what is the typical British family like?

True Potential Investor — a stocks and shares ISA provider — has created an interactive Financing a Family quiz, which estimates how much raising a family could cost both in total and at each stage of your child’s life. Here, the brand examines what the typical British family looks like:

Family size

Married or civil partner couple families are the most popular family type in the UK, making up 12.7 million of the total 18.9 million families in the UK. However, the data shows the greatest growth is within the cohabiting couple family category. Between 1996 and 2016, the number of cohabiting couple families increased from 1.5 million to 3.3 million, illustrating how attitudes to marriage and family life more generally are changing.

Growing 714,000 since 1996, there was 13.9 million dependent children in UK families as of 2016. The majority of these children live in a married couple family (63%), although this did drop by 10% during the ten year period. The number of children living with cohabiting couples more than doubled, from 7% to 15%, in-line with the UK’s growing number of this type of family.

45% of families with dependent children have only one dependent child, up 3% since 1996. Likewise, the number of families with three or more dependent children fell to 15% in 2017, down from 17% in 1996.

Perhaps other priorities, like our careers, are impacting the size of the family we’ll have. However, what we must consider is that these statistics do not take into consideration how many families have grown-up children. It also neglects the associated timescale of having a family; for example, in the future, we could see a shift as families that currently have one child have more in the future.

Is the British family getting older?

ONS data from 2016 shows that 25% of 20-34 year olds lived with their parents in 2016. This was an increase of 4% on 1996’s figures. Overall, males are more likely to live with their parents for longer — 31% of young men aged between 20 and 34 were living with their parents, compared to just 20% of females.

British children are taking longer to move out of the family home — but why? It could be down to rising property and rental costs, the increasing number of young people pursuing further education and the older age that people are starting families.

The cost of family life

As a result of their children staying at home for longer, parents are facing increased costs. On average, figures from the ONS suggest that the average British family spent £528.90 per week in 2016, which can add up to a hefty sum. Learn more about the potential costs and take the quiz today.