Today’s Solutions: April 14, 2024

Birth rates are falling in many parts of the world, especially in the US, and although the reasons for this are wide-ranging, many who choose to not have children or are biologically unable to still face questioning and confusion from friends and relatives who see childbearing as a necessary component of adult life. 

A new study from Michigan State University sought to investigate the true impact of a child-free life on satisfaction and happiness and found that in fact, child-free adults are just as happy as their child-rearing counterparts. 

Study Method

The study used sampled data from 1,000 Michigan residents and, after controlling for demographic characteristics, they found that there were no happiness and satisfaction differences between parents and nonparents. Nonparents include those who have not had children yet, those who chose not to have children, and those who experience infertility. 

What’s more, the study found that the rate of adults who chose not to have children regardless of fertility status is higher than previously thought. “We found that more than one in four people in Michigan identified as child-free, which is much higher than the estimated prevalence rate in previous studies that relied on fertility to identify child-free individuals,” said Researcher Jennifer Watling Neal. 

The Takeaway

Fertility rates have dropped significantly since the 1970s, and for parents who want to have children but cannot, not being able to reach parenthood can be incredibly stressful, but for those who choose to delay having children or not have children at all, this study demonstrates that life can be as satisfying and rewarding as the journey of parenthood. For many concerned about climate change, the financial implications of parenthood, or a loss of independence, pressure from family and friends might actually be the only downside to choosing not to procreate. 

Source study: Michigan State University – A quarter of adults don’t want children 一 And they’re still happy

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