Couples shelve plans to start a family as credit crunch bites

17 September 2008 / by Daniela Gieseler
Soaring energy and food bills have made thousands of childless couples in Britain change their mind about starting a family in the next year, a survey of 3,000 couples by Thebabywebsite.com revealed.

The findings show that more than a third (36 per cent) of couples intending to start a family in the next 12 months have now put their plans on hold. More worryingly, 29 per cent went on to say they could not imagine ever being in position to afford a family and decided once and for all never to have any children.

As many as 20 per cent of couples would even terminate the pregnancy if they found they were expecting, but were worried about their current and future financial situation.

Most couples gave difficulties securing a mortgage and rising food, gas and electricity prices as their reason for feeling able to have children in the foreseeable future, as they struggle to get by on a day-to-day basis.

By starting a family couples are essentially losing one salary and at the same time have to fork out extra money for nursery items, clothing, food, and sooner or later childcare.

The findings show that the soaring cost of living has had dramatic consequences on family planning, as 80 per cent of the respondents said it was important for them to be financially secure before they started thinking about a having a family.

Also, for 57 per cent the number of children they would have, if any, is mainly dependent on finances, and of the people with children surveyed 37 per cent said they had decided not to have any more children for financial reasons, although 27 per cent would like more.

Due to the increased cost of living 65 per cent of parents have already had to cut back on their spending, and are food shopping on a budget, cutting out treats or holidays or are handing down clothes from siblings or buying supermarket clothes instead of shopping on the high street.

Raising children is expensive, and so the credit crunch could result in a 'baby slump' which might have far wider implications than people imagine for generations to come.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd