BookmarkBookmarkTick

Does Having Kids Make You Happier?

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
March 2, 2017
Hero Image

Your kids probably bring immeasurable joy into your life, right? Most days anyways. But what if you could measure it? Researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Canada’s Western University did just that. And they found that two kids are the ticket to happiness. When it comes to a third child, the increase in happiness surrounding the birth is negligible.

Hold up. Does this mean baby number three gets less love? Not at all, says the study, published in the journal Demography. “The arrival of a third child is not associated with an increase in the parents’ happiness, but this is not to suggest they are any less loved than their older siblings,” says Mikko Myrskylä, professor of demography at LSE . “Instead, this may reflect that the experience of parenthood is less novel and exciting by the time the third child is born or that a larger family puts extra pressure on the parents’ resources.”

So if you’re gearing up for a third child and feeling admittedly less excited this time around, don’t feel bad. You’ve just got the hang of it by now.

On the flip side, if you are a brand new mom, you can expect to eventually come down from that post-baby high. Researchers found that parents’ happiness increases in the year before and after the birth of a first child. But then it returns to their ‘pre-child’ level of happiness. The same holds true for a second child, but happiness levels are cut in half.

What does this boil down to? It’s not really all about the baby. It’s about exploring something new with your partner. “The fact that parental happiness increases before these children are born suggests that we are capturing broader issues relating to childbearing such as couples forming partnerships and making plans for the future,” says Myrskylä.

The study also found that older parents (35-49) with higher levels of education display higher, more sustaining levels of happiness after birth.

Tell us: do these findings match up to your experience? 

Related Video
New Gerber baby, named Zane

Meet Gerber’s 2021 Spokesbaby and First-Ever Chief Growing Officer

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
06/28/2021
Country singer Chris Lane performing on stage at a concert.

Check Out Singer Chris Lane’s Newest Song, Dedicated to His Newborn Son

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
06/16/2021
Overhead view of flowers and mother's day card.

This Is the Most Popular Mother’s Day Flower in Each State

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
04/22/2021
Celebrities from left, Kristen Wiig, Jhené Aikon and Jessica Alba.

8 Celeb-Approved Gifts to Buy Moms This Mother’s Day

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
04/14/2021
Co-founder of Melissa and Doug, Melissa Bernstein sitting and contemplating on scenic rocks by water.

One Thing Melissa & Doug’s Co-Founder Wants All Parents to Stop Doing

profile picture of Melissa Bernstein
Melissa Bernstein
Melissa & Doug, Co-Founder and COO
The author and her husband and daughter, pictured against wall with fall leaves.

Mom Opens Up About Shaping a Cultural Identity for Her Kids

profile picture of Avani Modi Sarkar
Avani Modi Sarkar
Co-founder of Modi Toys
Article removed.