Do children increase our happiness? Polls say 'maybe'

Photo credit: © iStock/Andrey Kryuchkov
By Andrew Hiller: WASHINGTON (VR)—It is an argument that has taken place in bars, over Christmas, and with mother-in-laws across time. Do children create happiness? Now, a new study attempts not to answer the question, but to compare different nations as to how happy having children make them. After analyzing the responses from over 3 million people worldwide the answer was a qualified "maybe." The data collected between 2008 and 2012 concluded that economics had a large impact of having children on a person's perceived happiness, contentedness, and stress. Overall, parents reported more ups and downs than non-parents. Those with children at home reported higher levels of all the emotional responses, including happiness and stress, smiling and anger. But when researchers took into account other attributes that parents tend to have -- higher education, more income, better health and religious faith -- they found similar levels of life satisfaction as reported by non-parents. On the whole, both US groups rated their lives about a seven on a scale of one to 10. Adults of all ages with children at home rated their lives 6.82 while the childless came in at 6.84. When researchers looked solely at people in the prime child-rearing years (age 34-46) they found people with kids rating their lives at 6.84, just higher than those without kids at 6.51. In the rest of the world, the survey results told a different story: people with kids -- at least those outside the rich English-speaking world -- tended to be less content with their lives. Radio VR host Andrew Hiller spoke with Pat Fagan of the Family Research Council. Source:

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