British families are "shrinking" because parents can't afford to have more children, a new report warns.

The report, commissioned by insurers Aviva, polled 1,000 parents with children under the age of 22. Two thirds of them cited economic pressures as the key reason for not extending their family.

The researchers of the report said: "The average UK family size could be set to shrink as the cost of bringing up a child spirals to £271,499."

The report divides the total bill for raising a child into four categories. "Education", which includes anything from school trips to private school fees and university costs, totals £66,938.

"Household services", which includes items such as internet connection, train fares and help towards a deposit on a child's first home, totals £77,080.

The third category "Clothing and food" which includes all nappies and prams, children's clothes, shoes and boots, as well as food and school dinners, reaches £69,332.

The final category is "leisure", which includes children's activities, pocket money, holidays and toys. The total bill is £58,149.

Posted by Penny Hosie on 21.2.11

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