Great British Family Report paints picture of typical family in 2017 – from work to finances

Biggest worries include money, children’s happiness and lack of quality time spent with kids

Mums much more hands-on with chores – but also control the purse-strings

Despite pressures of family life, 91 per cent of British families are happy and content

A portrait of British family life in 2017 reveals parents are under constant pressure as they juggle finances, kids and responsibilities, according to a new report. But despite the burden of family life, more than nine in ten parents (91%) are happy with life.

Nationwide’s Great British Family Report was commissioned to produce both a snapshot of the average family and to highlight the pressures affecting parents.  

Average family

The poll shows that British families tend to have two children (45%), while around a fifth (19%) have three and nine per cent have four or more. The average age for starting to have children is 27 years old, with the second child arriving at the age of 30.

Families surveyed had an average of one pet, with a dog being the companion of choice, closely followed by a cat. The average amount spent on the main family car is £8,911.

Two thirds (67%) of parents are married, according to the research, with one in ten (10%) either single, divorced or separated.

British families also enjoy an average of two holidays together a year, one in the UK and one abroad. While one in eight families (13%) aren’t able to go on holiday together at all. Nearly a third of families (30%) spend more than ten per cent of their annual income on holidays per year.

Family finances

The survey shows that women are more likely to control the family finances, with over a third of women (38%) saying they manage the budget, compared to just a quarter (27%) of men.

The average household earns £29,688 a year. Families have an average of around £8,000 in savings. Families owe an average of £1,618 on credit cards£1,315 on personal loans, £1,496 on student loans, £896 on car finance and nearly £500 is owed to the bank of mum and dad. Around one in ten families polled (11%) have more than £20,000 in savings.

When all the main bills have been paid, families polled say they’ve got an average of £183 of disposable income a week to spend for the whole family, which amounts to around £46 per person, per week, assuming a family of four. While two in five (41%) say they have less than £115 spare cash.

Childcare and school costs

Just over half (51%) of British families surveyed use childcare, including breakfast and after school clubs, with children attending sessions two days a week on average. This costs families around £2,000 each year. However, school is also expensive, with clubs, activities, kit and extra tuition costing families a sizeable £800 per year on average.

Our house

The poll shows that British families have an average of three bedrooms, two toilets, one family room and one toy room.

Parents spent an average of just under four-and-a-half times their household income when they bought their family home, with the majority (78%) of families having a mortgage of £164,695 still to pay off.

Technology plays an important part in the modern family home, with families saying they own an average of two televisions, two tablets, two laptops, one computer, three phones and two games consoles.

Happy families

According to the Nationwide poll, 91 per cent of parents class themselves as happy with family life. This is despite parents conceding they argue with family members on average twice a week and find themselves spending the same amount of time doing household chores (18 hours on average) as the time they spend together (18 hours)

The research also found that families spend an average of ten hours a week watching television, but only six hours a week spending quality time together.

However, the tradition of the family meal is still a firm staple for British households, with the poll showing that families eat together at the table on average four times a week. British families polled have an average of one family takeaway together each week

Family routine

Research into the household routine highlights that mums and dads work an average of 30 hours a week, with men doing around 35 hours and women doing around 25 hours.  The average family day consists of: 

  • 6.50am – get out of bed
  • 8.10am – leave for work
  • 7.45pm – put the kids to bed

Read the full report here.