Articles

The Family Unit: is the ‘traditional family’ no more?

2 minutes

Most UK adults don’t think you need children to be a traditional family, and many people without children don’t plan to have one.

Regardless of their family status, most are concerned about their finances and some don’t own any financial products – such as a pension or life insurance.

  • The majority (64%) don’t believe there is one definition of a ‘traditional family’.
  • One in five (19%) don’t have any financial products.
  • Most people who are married or in a civil partnership without children don’t plan to have any.

Does the traditional family still exist?

Married with children is still statistically the most common family type in Britain: two-fifths (41%) of UK adults are married, and 60% of those who say they are married are a parent or guardian.However, a survey by LV= has revealed that the ‘traditional family’ could be on the decline, as 24% of married adults without children say they don’t plan to have any, compared to 9% who intend to have children in the future.


The ‘traditional family’ in the UK

Britain is home to many types of family unit. People are having children and starting families without getting married first: just under three in ten (28%) people who are living with a partner, but are neither married nor in a civil partnership, have a child aged four-years-old or under.

It’s little surprise, then, that almost two-thirds (64%) of people don’t think that there is one definition of a traditional UK family.

LV= asked UK adults if they agreed with the following statement: I don't think there is one definition of a traditional family?

Is there one definition of a traditional family?

The same percentage of UK adults (64%) don’t think you need to be married to be defined as a traditional family, while over half (53%) think that you don’t need children to be defined as a traditional family.

Do you agree that there is not one definition of a traditional family?

What financial concerns do people have?

Whether they have children or not, people are concerned that they don’t have the financial security in place to support a family. One in five (20%) are concerned that they don’t have enough financial provisions in place for their family and their future.

Although the main financial concern in the UK is that people will not have enough money to retire on when they want to (35%), there are still interesting regional differences. For example, people in London are the most concerned that they might never be able to afford to own a home (32%), while people in the North East are the least likely to have any financial concerns (41%).

Many UK adults still don’t have financial protection

Despite only a third (33%) of British adults having no financial concerns for themselves or their family, almost one in five (19%) don’t own any financial products to save money or protect themselves financially – including parents and guardians.


Many UK parents are concerned about their finances

Many parents are concerned they don't have the financial provisions in place for their family, but some still don't own any financial products.

  Up to 4        5-11        12-16        17-18        Over 18     
Concerned about their financial provisions                39% 41% 48% 26% 12%
Don't have any financial products  15% 18% 20% 20% 11%
  Up to 4        5-11        12-16        17-18        Over 18     
Concerned about their financial provisions                39% 41% 48% 26% 12%
Don't have any financial products  15% 18% 20% 20% 11%

Over a quarter (26%) of people aged 35 to 44 are concerned that they will not be able to leave an inheritance to their children. One in five (22%) in this age group, meanwhile, are concerned that, if they weren’t around, their family would struggle financially.

Although fewer married couples plan to have children, the fact that many are concerned about their financial future suggests that people don’t have the provisions in place to secure their future and their family, whatever form it takes.

We asked seven UK families about their thoughts on the ‘traditional family’ and what concerns them about their financial future.

Some names have been changed to protect the identities of people mentioned in this article.