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The Increasing Happiness of Parents

The Increasing Happiness of Parents, Chris M. Herbst and John Ifcher, Working Paper No. 2014-05-SCU-ECON. Economics Department, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. 2014.

“Previous research suggests that parents may be less happy than non-parents. We critically assess the extant literature and reexamine the relationship between parental status and happiness using the General Social Survey (N = 42,298) and DDB Lifestyle Survey (N = 75,237). We find that parents are becoming happier over time relative to non-parents, that non-parents’ happiness is declining absolutely and that estimates of the parental happiness gap are sensitive to the time-period and age-group analyzed. These results are consistent across two datasets, most subgroups and various specifications. Finally, we present evidence that suggests children appear to protect parents against social and economic forces that may be reducing happiness among non-parents.”

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