Parenthood and happiness and Europe

I’m currently working on my latest research– the politics of parenthood goes international!  Anyway, looking to see if we can find the same patterns of parenthood in the European Social Survey as we have found in America.  So far, the answer is a resounding yes (moms more liberal on social welfare issues; minimal effect for dads).  Hooray.  That said, I couldn’t help but also look at happiness as a dependent variable in all my analyses.  So, what did I find.  Parenthood (with a bunch of controls you would expect) is associated with less happiness.  Also, parenthood is associated with less subjective health.  Damn vectors?!

Anyway, the ESS also asks a question as to whether you’ve ever had kids in your home.  Thought I’d check and see if persons who do not currently have kids in the home, but have in the past might be happier.  Nope.  Even those who used to have kids are less happy.   And less healthy.

Not a ringing endorsement for parenthood, but I’ll still take it.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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