Science Has Wonderful News for Young People Who Don't Want Kids
According to new research published this month in the journal Demography, there's one huge reason why couples are choosing not to have tons of kids:
It makes them happier.
The details: Study authors Rachel Margolis and Mikko Myrskylä set out to determine the effect that having a baby has on overall life satisfaction. They surveyed more than 2,000 people in Germany, where the birthrate is notoriously low compared to that of other countries. Participants rated their happiness levels on a scale of one to 10, both before their babies were born and two years afterward.
As it turns out, parenthood was a major buzzkill for most of them.
Only 30% of respondents said they were as happy or happier than they were before having kids. But the majority reported pretty steep decreases in their happiness levels. On that one to 10 scale of happiness, there was an average drop of 1.4 units, which the Washington Post reports is "considered very severe." In fact, the study reported that people who've just had a kid were more unhappy than those who've just gone through a divorce (who typically experience a 0.6 unit drop in happiness), unemployment (1.0 unit drop) and even the death of a partner (1.0 unit drop).
The researchers concluded that this steep decline in happiness is ultimately discouraging people from having more kids, which likely explains Germany's aforementioned rugrat drought.
These findings are validating AF. While this research was specific to Germany, it speaks volumes about something that many young people around the world have already realized: Kids are really hard work, so some people just shouldn't have them.
In the United States, the birth rate among millennial women has been in steep decline for some time now. That's in part because, despite the stigma attached to not having kids, there are myriad reasons why 20-somethings might want to forego parenthood, such as financial issues, career ambition and concerns about overpopulation.
Having kids can be an incredibly life-changing and eye-opening experience. As new parents frequently attest, bringing new life onto the planet irrevocably changes how you see yourself and the rest of the world.
But as the results of this study confirm, it just might not be for everyone.