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Brits delay having children

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6 min read

by LifeSearch,

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Published 28 Dec 2022


  • One in five (21%) Brits with plans to have a family, have put them on hold for ‘the foreseeable future’ & a further one in four (25%) have delayed in the short term
  • Amongst under-35s with family plans, 60% have delayed starting a family or having another child either in the short term (32%) or for the foreseeable future (28%)
  • Half of Brits (49%) who had plans to purchase a home have delayed house buying plans because of the cost-of-living crisis, rising to 65% of Londoners

Millions of young Brits have been forced to delay their plans to start a family as a direct result of the cost-of-living crisis, according to the latest update of the LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Index.

The research found that almost half (45%) of all Brits who had planned to either start a family, or have another child, have delayed their plans due to the cost-of-living crisis, rising to 60% of those aged 18-34.

Of those Brits who have put their family plans on hold, 55% see it as a short-term delay, but 45% say they will not be able to either start a family or have another child ‘for the foreseeable future’, rising to 47% for 18-34s. 

LifeSearch, the UK’s leading life insurance broker, found that, as well as affecting family plans, the cost-of-living crisis is also impacting other major life decisions for many Brits.

Of those who’d planned to buy a house, a fifth (21%) will no longer be able to in the short term, while 28% have delayed it for the foreseeable future, meaning half of all Brits who had been hoping to buy a home have now been forced to put their plans on hold. In London, this rises to 65%, with the majority of this group saying they have delayed their plans ‘for the foreseeable future’.

Furthermore, 61% of people who had planned to buy a car are now no longer doing so, rising to 68% of young people, while of those Brits who had planned to buy a family pet, almost half (45%) are now no longer able to as a direct result of the cost-of-living crisis. Again, the impact is greater on younger people – 61% of those who’d wanted to get a pet have delayed these plans – with nearly half of this group delaying for the foreseeable future.

While the long-term impacts of the cost-of-living crisis are shocking, given the impact rising prices and inflation are having on family budgets, it is perhaps not hugely surprising that major life decisions are having to be put on hold.

According to the LifeSearch research, the cost of essentials only needs to go up by £128 per month for Brits to struggle financially in the months ahead and by just £102 for 18-34s, so any extra pressure on finances – like another mouth to feed – are simply unaffordable for many people.

In fact, LifeSearch has also discovered that many Brits expect to face severe consequences as it is, just trying to maintain their day to day lives as prices continue to rise:

  • 45% anticipate they may use the majority of their savings (rising to 62% of 18–34-year-olds) while a third (33%) will have significantly more debt (rising again to 49% of 18–34-year-olds)
  • 34% think they will be unable to pay for energy (49% of 18–34-year-olds) and 68% will turn the heating off when normally it is on
  • 22% of property owners anticipate they may be unable to pay their rent/mortgage (40% of 18–34-year-olds) and 17% will have to sell their home to release equity (42% of 18–34-year-olds)
  • 34% will struggle to pay for food (47% of 18–34-year-olds and 55% of those renting with local authority) and while 31% of car owners won’t be able to afford to run their car
  • 36% of parents don’t think they will be able to pay for childcare, and 60% say they will struggle to pay for things their children want/need this winter

Emma Walker, Chief Marketing Officer at LifeSearch who commissioned the study said: “This winter looks set to be challenging for so many this year; aside of the stresses people face as a result of the rising cost of living, many are also being forced to put major life plans on hold because they simply cannot afford to go ahead at the moment.”

“Our study has shown that many are anticipating dire consequences this winter as almost one in two British adults expect to exhaust all their savings and one in three will struggle to pay for food, with a fifth expecting to use a food bank. So while it is deeply saddening that almost half of those who had planned to start or grow their family have had to put those plans on hold, it is perhaps not hugely surprising given the difficult financial situation so many find themselves in.”

For a full copy of the LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Report, updated for Q2 and Q3 2022, visit
- Ends -
The Q2 and Q3 update of the Health, Wealth and Happiness Index was compiled and updated by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for LifeSearch in October 2022. The Index is based on a modelling process taking into account a range of data sources covering health, wealth, and happiness and monitoring changes over time. The consumer insights research was carried out by Opinium Research between 6-12 October 2022 among 3,000 UK adults, weighted to be nationally representative. 
For further information, please contact:
Karen Mignon / Kevin Carr, Carr Consulting & Communications
Email: / Tel: 07766 651327
Email: / Tel: 07887 838811
About LifeSearch
Over nearly 23 years, LifeSearch have grown into the UK’s biggest life insurance specialist, offering expert, independent advice to customers around life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection, family income benefit, serious illness cover and business insurance. Over our two-plus-decades, LifeSearch has picked up dozens of awards for company culture, expertise and customer service. We have a TrustPilot score of 4.9 out of 5 (excellent) and came Top #3 in our debut appearance on the Sunday Times’ list of Best Places to Work in the UK –

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LifeSearch have been protecting the life you love since 1998. We've protected over 1 million of families in our time. Read our views and opinions on the latest industry news, and what we have to say on all things Health, Wealth & Happiness. Our content is brought to you by LifeSearcher's and guest writers.
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