• Contact us to get involved


    4Children’s Inquiry Britain’s Families: thriving or surviving? will run for 6 months and will talk to families across the country to reveal a fresh and comprehensive understanding of family life in Britain.


    If you would like to let us know your experiences, participate in or help set up a focus group, or find out more, please get in touch with the Inquiry team:



    Telephone: 020 7522 6925

  • Where we’ve been

    Over recent weeks we have spoken to parents and young people in:

    • Battersea, South London
    • Fareham, Hampshire
    • Wychavon, Worcestershire
  • Where we're going

    Over the comming weeks we'll be speaking to parents and young people in:

    • Tooting, London
    • Cardiff
    • Llandudno, Wales
    • Aberystwyth, Wales
    • Leeds
    • Wiltshire
    • Seven Sisters, London
    • Glasgow
  • Inquiry Diary


    Latest updates and progress from the Inquiry.

    Find out more

  • Sign up for Inquiry updates

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    Like 4Children’s Facebook page for the latest activity, and follow us on Twitter for up to the minute news.


One family plus another family makes a country… I’m proud to be an ambassador for 4Children and help launch the 'Britain's families: thriving or striving' inquiry”

Lorraine CandyLorraine Candy,
Editor - Elle magazine

Britain’s Families: thriving or surviving


Tell us if you're #ThrivingOrSurviving

Parents/Carers: 5 minutes to take our survey? 

Under 21? Have your say and tell us what life is like for you.

Why are we carrying out an Inquiry?

Families are at the heart of Britain. But too many are held back because they don’t have the support they need to thrive. As we move beyond the economic crisis it is time to rethink our ambitions for children and families. When families do well, Britain does well.

Family life has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. New and different challenges mean  we need a fresh understanding what it is like to raise a family in Britain today and a more ambitious approach.

4Children’s Inquiry Britain’s Families: thriving or surviving? will run for 6 months and will talk to families across the country to reveal a fresh and comprehensive understanding of modern family life in Britain. Through this Inquiry we aim to uncover the challenges and opportunities families face in modern Britain, and what can be done to better support family life.

What parents told us

A national poll of 2000 parents commissioned by 4Children found that a quarter of families (25%) are ‘surviving: only just coping’ with only one in ten (12%) describing themselves as doing really well.

  • Only a third (33%) of parents believe their children’s standard of living will be better than their own, with a quarter (24%) thinking it will be worse
  • Parents say the most common challenges they are facing are financial struggles (46%), not enough time with their family (27%), employment worries (20%) and difficult family relationships (18%)
  • Parents tell us the top 3 things having a negative impact on the quality of their family relationships are stress or worries (42%), struggling to make ends meet (28%), and long or differing work hours (27%)

Swing Family

What the statistics tell us

Family finances

  • 1.4 million UK families with dependent children are in problem debt
  • 3.7m children live in poverty, a figure predicted to rise significantly by 2020

Family life

  • 56% of parents think life is harder today than it was 20 years ago
  • 35% say their family’s happiness is their top priority, compared to just 6% who say money is the most important

Education & work

  • 1 in 4 children - particularly those from deprived communities - start primary school in England without the necessary language and communication skills
  • Two thirds of children have at least one parent in work

Health & wellbeing

  • Overall the health of children in the UK is improving but health inequalities remain deeply entrenched
  • Growing numbers of children are presenting with multiple and complex mental health problems


  • Despite working, 48% of 20 to 34 year olds who live with their parents do so because they can’t afford to rent or buy their own home
  • Two thirds of private renters in England are unable to save anything towards a deposit for a home on their own


  • 46% of children have been bullied at school and 38% have experienced cyber bullying
  • An estimated 1.4 million women and 700,000 men experienced domestic abuse in the last year