Having a child is a life-changing event, but given the unprecedented times we’ve been living through, has lockdown put people off parenthood altogether and have pandemic puppies made a difference to people’s plans? We polled 1,001 UK adults who, prior to the pandemic, were planning to start a family or add to their existing one. As our report shows, people are now thinking very differently about introducing babies (and furry friends) into their lives.

Here's a snapshot of what we discovered:

  • 72% of adults without children have delayed (or considered delaying) having a child since March 2020.
  • 41% of those who’ve delayed parenthood say the decision has brought them and their partner closer.
  • 65% of parents said that home-schooling has increased their desire to add to their family.

Boom or bust?

In the early days of the pandemic, many people predicted a baby boom similar to that witnessed in the years after the Second World War. With adults spending more time at home, and with less distractions than usual, would the maternity wards soon be bursting with babies? Well, apparently not, as the below data shows.

 

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Despite expectations of a ‘baby boom’, it appears we’re witnessing something more like a ‘baby blip’. Regardless of age, a majority of those we surveyed were unequivocal that having a child is simply not a priority right now. But what’s caused this U-turn?

The Covid effect

The impact of COVID-19 on people’s attitudes towards parenthood has been seismic.

We scratched beneath the surface to uncover the main reasons why people are thinking about (or actively choosing) to delay having a child. Here are the top three from our poll:

  • I am worried about the impact of lockdown on babies (34%)
  • I have been financially impacted by coronavirus (30%)
  • I have a fear of catching the virus (24%)

As you can see, it’s not just financial reasons that have led many adults to put parenthood on pause. In fact, 22% told us that their new perspective on life was the reason for delaying having a child.

No turning bark

We’ve all seen the stories about the popularity of pets during lockdown, but have pooches overtaken parenthood as a priority? Here, there were some striking findings:

 

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Even if there wasn’t a boom in baby births, there certainly was in dog ownership. 40% of respondents said they got a dog during lockdown, and 71% of this figure did so as an alternative to having a baby. As lifestyles change post-lockdown, it will be fascinating to see if this trend continues.

Will there be a baby bounce?

It’s easy to draw conclusions and claim that parenthood may have changed forever. But according to our research, many parents will look to restart their plans to have a child at some stage.

 

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While many have put a life of bottle feeds and bedtime stories on the backburner, a large majority (83%) of those who’ve delayed starting (or adding to) a family say they still expect to have children in the future. So despite all the disruption in 2020-21, delaying the pitter patter of little feet may not be permanent.

See the full report

There are plenty more surprising discoveries in our full report, Putting Off Parenthood, which you can download below.

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What's in a name?

For those who’ve decided not to have a child, getting a dog has often been a plan B. But if pooches have replaced parenthood, are we seeing more ‘human’ dog names?

You don’t often meet kids called Rover or Fido, but neither do you tend to meet dogs called Helen or Steve. But we’ve done some digging and discovered that the gap between dog’s names and traditional human names may be closer than you think.

According to a recent survey, the top three most popular dog’s names during lockdown have been Luna, Bella and Milo. Other doggy names in the top ten included Charlie and Teddy. Sound familiar? We’re no psychologists, but perhaps some people who’ve chosen puppies over parenthood are opting for distinctly human-sounding dog names.

We insure our pets, so why not our people?

Dogs can be an amazing addition to a family home. Who could turn up their nose at these loyal and loveable companions? But what’s remarkable is that households are four times more likely to insure their pet than their income.

We’re all for bringing more joy – and mucky pawprints – into our lives, but when you compare the cost of insuring a pet to insuring a human, life insurance feels like a no brainer.

Life insurance is designed to protect all the little people who rely on your income, whether they’re newborn babies, toddlers or teenagers. But families are a broad bunch, and life insurance can also protect anyone who would be financially impacted if you were to pass away.

Sharing the report

Feel free to share our findings on Putting off Parenthood with your readers for non-commercial purposes. All we ask is that you link back to this page to give our research team credit.