Britain’s next generation of parents are delaying plans to start a family mainly due to affordability concerns, reveals new research.
Half of those surveyed are delaying starting a family due to money worries. Credit: Holyrood Magazine
A report from the Scottish Widows think tank the Centre for the Modern Family (CMF) has found almost half (45 per cent) of 25-34 year olds plan to delay starting a family for at least three years.
Anita Frew, Chair, Centre for the Modern Family said: “This latest CMF research shows that affordability is the key consideration for young people when it comes to planning their own families. It is important that this generation are given the support they need to plan and budget effectively in order to feel confident about starting a family.
“However, the research also clearly shows that the next generation of parents have strong intentions when it comes to being able to continue to enjoy their work, without having to compromise on spending time as a family.
“It is vital that they are encouraged to follow through on their ambitions, allowing both men and women to enjoy the best of both worlds, in order for us to see them follow through on these great intentions.”
Half (50 per cent) are delaying due to money worries, making this a bigger barrier than career goals (37 per cent) or getting married (42 per cent). A further fifth (21 per cent) have debts they want clear before having children.
Would-be parents surveyed aim to accrue a nest egg of almost £5,500 on average before having a first child, and more than a fifth (22 per cent) hope to save more than £10,000 to fund their new family. Despite ambitious plans, almost two thirds (64 per cent) have not saved anything, and even amongst those who have, average savings amount to under £1,600.
Britain’s next generation of parents are already thinking about how they cover childcare costs. While almost a third (31 per cent) of fathers are currently solely responsible for paying for childcare (compared to 16 per cent of mothers), would-be parents are striving for more equality.
Britain’s next generation of parents also plan to share the practical responsibilities: currently 85 per cent of fathers work full time after their first child is born, and 75 per cent of mothers are the primary care-giver.
While 55 per cent of would-be fathers plan to work full time, only 53 per cent of would-be mothers expect to be the primary care-giver. As a result, the number of parents sharing childcare is set to increase from 28 per cent to 38 per cent, enabling both parents to spend more time with their family, alongside their career.
A boost for shared parental leave
The CMF data shows that only one per cent of parents have taken advantage of shared parental leave to date, almost half (47 per cent) of next generation parents plan to do so.
The research also indicates that more could be done to encourage uptake: of those who do not plan to take it up, 14 per cent claim they don’t understand how it works, 13 per cent think it will harm their prospects of promotion and a worrying 7 per cent think their employer would not welcome it.