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The six types of modern family and their finances

The idea of the nuclear family with 2.4 children is no more. We look at the six most common types of modern families in the UK and how they manage their finances.

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Modern Families and Finances in the UK

In the UK, 84 per cent of Britons live as part of a family. How are families faring? We break down the structure, income, debts, and outlook of modern families in the UK.


The Changing Face of Family

The idea of the “nuclear family” with two parents and one or more children is no more. Society has evolved such that there are now 6 common types of modern families.

  • Couples in a committed relationship with no plans to have children.
  • Couples in a committed relationship with plans to have children.
  • Couples in a committed relationship with one child.
  • Couples in a committed relationship with two or more children.
  • Divorced, separated, or widowed adults with one or more children.
  • Single parents raising one or more children alone.


The Typical Family’s Income

The typical family in the UK now brings in £2,066 each month—7 percent more compared to a year earlier. Couples without children are driving this increase.

Median Monthly Net Income
January 2012                 £2,066
January 2011                 £1,937

Increase in Monthly Net Income (January 2011-January 2012)
+7%     Typical family
+10%    Couples in a committed relationship with no plans to have children
+11%    Couples in a committed relationship who plan to have children

Common Sources of Income
69%      Salary from primary income earner
33%      Income from spousal earnings
22%      Benefits
18%      Earnings from part-time or second jobs


The Typical Family’s Expenditure

As the cost of food, energy, and motoring rise, their percentage of monthly income remains constant, suggesting families around the UK are cutting back expenses.

Average Amount Spent as % of Monthly Income
20%      Housing (mortgage or rent)
10%      Food
9%       Debt repayment
9%       Nursery or out of school care
5%       Energy bills
5%       Motoring
4%       Entertainment, recreation, and holidays
4%       Public transport fares and other travel costs
2%       Clothing and footwear
1%       Fees for children’s activities

Families Cutting Back
22 percent say they don’t spend money on personal goods.
30 percent say they don’t spend money on entertainment, recreation, or holidays.
42 percent say they have cut out leisure goods spending completely.


The Typical Family’s Wealth

Family homes are typically more expensive than the average residence since they’re usually larger. Single parents and adults who are divorced, separated, or widowed typically have lower-value homes.

Housing Wealth: Average Value of House Per Family Type

Couples with no plans to have children


Couples with plans to have children


Couples with one child


Couples with two or more children


Single parents with one or more children


Divorced/Separated/Widowed with one or more children


Average residential property



The Typical Family’s Borrowing

UK families owe £7,944 that they repay monthly—roughly 32 percent of the typical annual household income (£24,792). But this is up significantly from last year.

The typical family owes …
£2,314 in credit card debt
£1,739 in personal loans
£775 in overdrafts

Typical Family Unsecured Debt
January 2012     £7,944
January 2011     5,360


The Typical Family’s Future

For the most part, the typical family is setting money aside each month—preparing for retirement or in case of an emergency. Roughly 3 in 5 families worry most about an increase in the cost of food, energy, etc.

Most UK Families Prepare for the Future
70%      Families with savings
30%      Families with no savings

Some Families Don’t
42 percent of all families don’t save each month.
59 percent of single parents don’t save each month.
61 percent of divorced, separated, or widowed adults don’t save each month.

Top Three Fears for Families
1. A significant increase in the price of basic necessities
2. Losing a job
3. Unexpected expenses




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