We’ve all heard sayings such as, “We never knew the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves” or: “Being a parent is the best job in the world.” But what about those of us who simply don’t want to have kids? According to a recent Michigan-based study, a quarter of adults don’t want to be parents, and they’re just as happy as those with children.
The study focused on distinguishing those who are childfree by choice from other types of non-parents, such as those who don’t have kids yet because they’re waiting to adopt or plan to have a baby later on. “Most studies haven’t asked the questions necessary to distinguish ‘childfree’ individuals — those who choose not to have children — from other types of non-parents,” researcher Jennifer Watling Neal said. “Non-parents can also include the ‘not-yet-parents’ who are planning to have kids, and ‘childless’ people who couldn’t have kids due to infertility or circumstance. Previous studies simply lumped all non-parents into a single category to compare them to parents.”
Researchers examined the overall life satisfaction of adults who don’t want kids, and found no differences compared to adults who are parents. Data was collected from 1,086 respondents which then formed a representative sample of 1,000 Michigan adults. They found no significant differences in life satisfaction between childfree individuals and those with kids or not-yet-parents.
They also discovered that childfree individuals felt warm feelings toward childfree women, while parents and those who plan to become parents felt statistically significantly cooler towards them. It was similar with childfree men: childfree individuals felt warmer towards childfree men, but the three other parental status groups felt significantly cooler toward childfree men.
Another interesting finding was that childfree people were more liberal than parents. Researchers noted that liberal people could be more likely to decide to be childfree to promote or facilitate more equal gender roles or out of a concern for the environment (kids = carbon emissions!)
Basically, regardless of whether or not you want to have children, you will still have a happy life.
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