So let's put some of the arguing about whether it's better to have kids or to not have kids to rest. A new study by Princeton and Stony Brook universities, appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, shows that adults with and without children are about equally likely to be happy.
For a sample of 1.8 million Americans of all ages, and without controls for other circumstances, we find little difference in subjective wellbeing between people with and without children. Among those most likely to be parents, life evaluation and all hedonic experiences except stress are markedly better among those living with a child.... [W]e interpret our rich-country results within a theory of children and wellbeing in which adults sort into parenthood according to their preferences. In poor, high-fertility countries, we find evidence that at least some people have children even when it diminishes their personal wellbeing.In other words, being able to make reproductive choices that are right for you are likely to make you as happy as anyone else who makes the choices that are right for them. It's when something happens that is beyond one's control (like infertility, or an unwanted pregnancy) that adults report lowered happiness. So the next time anyone suggests that you would be happier with another kid/if only you would have a kid/if you hadn't had kids, just point 'em towards the research. (Photo: iStock)