A new study from the UK’s leading money-saving brand has revealed the regional differences in the ages when people feel it’s best to begin a family, with those in London stating that 37 is the optimal age whilst those in Wales and Northern Ireland think that it’s ideal to have your first child at 25 years old.
According to new research from the UK’s top discount brand, the optimal age to have a child varies from region to region; with those in London, the East Midlands and the South East all wanting to wait the longest before starting a family. By comparison, those in Wales and Northern Ireland are prepared to get planning far earlier, in their mid twenties.
The team at vouchercloud undertook the study as part of ongoing research into British attitudes towards starting a family and whether or not finances were a delaying factor. 2,318 British parents aged 18 and over, all of whom stated they have at least one child under the age of 11 years old, were quizzed about their family plans and whether their own timing fitted with their plans.
Initially, all respondents were then asked ‘Did the arrival of your child/ren suit your ideal plans on when you wanted to start a family?’ to which almost one in five respondents (19%) admitted ‘no, my children did not suit my ideal family plans’.
All respondents were then asked ‘What factors come into play when you were considering whether or not to start a family?’ to which the most common responses were ‘being financially able to afford a child’ (35%), ‘having a stable job’ (30%) and ‘owning my home’ (19%).
All respondents who indicated that finances were a factor in deciding when to have children were asked why it was so important that they were financially prepared, to which the most common responses were ‘I didn’t want to have to ask/rely on others to help purchase things we needed’ (41%) and ‘Maternity & paternity pay isn’t enough to cover the bills’ (29%). A further X% stated that they ‘did not want their lifestyle to suffer’.
All respondents were then asked what they considered to be the optimal age to begin having children, as well as being asked to provide their region within the UK in order to determine any possible patterns. Once all of the results were collated, the results were as follows:
Average Optimal Age to Begin Having Children
· London – 37
· East Midlands – 32
· South East – 31
· East of England – 30
· South West – 30
· West Midlands – 29
· North East – 28
· Scotland – 28
· North West – 27
· Yorkshire & the Humberside –26
· Wales – 25
· Northern Ireland – 25
All respondents were then asked ‘Did you have your first child at the optimal age that you stated?’ to which 69% of respondents stated ‘no’. When asked to expand on this, 52% had their first child ‘earlier’ that their optimal age, while the remaining 48% had theirs ‘later’.
Chris Johnson, Head of Operations at vouchercloud.com, commented:
“Many of us have an idea in mind of when we think we’d like to settle down and begin a family, but realistically it doesn’t often happen the way we expect it too. Sometimes unplanned pregnancies happen and they become the best thing that’s happened to you, and for others they reach the age they thought they’d like to settle down but when they reach that age they still don’t quite feel ready – or maybe the situation isn’t quite right. But it’s good that people are thinking financially when it comes to children; yes, in an ideal world we’d all have no debts, own our own homes and be at a good level within our careers, but as long as you’ve got a good support network around you and you want to make it work, then you’ll find a way.”