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Studies Show Parents Are Less Lonely and Experience More Meaning

If we believe modern conventional wisdom, we might be convinced that parenthood is a one-way ticket to unhappiness. 

08/3/23

John Stonestreet

Kasey Leander

If all we had to go on was Salon, Slate, or The Atlantic magazines, we’d be forced to conclude that becoming a parent is a life sentence of loneliness. Though studies do demonstrate a loss in certain forms of happiness for parents, according to Brad Wilcox of the Institute for Family Studies, that conclusion “no longer fits the data.”  

Nearly 60% of childless men and women say they are lonely some, most, or all the time while only 45% of those with children report the same. Likewise, “82% of parents say they are ‘very happy’ or ‘pretty happy’ compared to just 68% of the childless.”  

Some of the shift likely has to do with how the pandemic disrupted social life, which families were partially insulated against. Another factor is likely America’s improved work-life balance.  

More important is how happiness is defined. Kids can create stress like nothing else, but they are also a source of joy and meaning.  

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