Why Are Childfree Couples Happier?

I’ve read several studies now that all conclude that childfree couples (interpreted: never have had children) tend to be happier than couples in any other child status, including so-called “empty nesters” (those whose kids are all grown and gone). I’ve often wondered to myself why that is. What is it about the childfree way of life is making these couples happier?

In thinking about it, I’ve come up with a number of reasons that might explain this phenomenon, some of which are probably obvious, others of which are not so obvious. We’ll deal with each one of my thoughts individually, but please keep in mind much of this is just speculation on my part, and I’m in no way going to claim any of this as absolute fact.

First things first, a recurring theme and mention that has come up on my blog throughout the post: finances. There’s no way to deny that children are expensive. Even one child is enough to put financial stress on a couple who’s already struggling to make ends meet. Each additional child further stretches the budget. What’s ironic about that, though is that I’ve read a number of studies that have determined that people who identify as childfree as a whole tend to have higher gross incomes than those who either want or have children. Financial stress can and does put a strain on a couple’s relationship (and the converse is also true), so this absolutely makes sense.

Then there’s the issue of freedom. Couples without children are obviously more free to do stuff on their own accord or with each other than if they had children. Freedom to travel the world, engage in interest and hobbies, go out at night, among other things. They are more able to totally immerse themselves in their interest and hobbies. This is good for mental health and happiness as well.

It’s been conjectured that childfree couples also tend to have better sex lives. While at first I had trouble understanding the reasoning behind this initially, I slowly started climb on board with this theory. Having children around can really mess up spontaneity. When you’re in the mood, you’re in the mood. If the kids aren’t in bed yet, well, it’s hard to just get it on without them the wiser, unless you just leave them by themselves, which is a mess. Also, kids can interrupt sexy time (especially babies if they wake in the night), which is frustrating. That can lead to all sorts of problems. Well, I think I rest my case here.

I think there are some other minor factors that might come into play. More time for one another, more education (childfree couples tend to be better educated, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a correlation between education and happiness), more time to advance one’s career, among other things. I think we could conjecture all day as to the reasons as to why childfree couples may be happier, but I think extensive research would have to be done. I’d be interested to see how such studies would come out.

What do you guys think?

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About coolchildfreeguy

Childfree guy living in Mexico City. Professional pilot by day, all-around fun guy by night.

Posted on February 15, 2012, in Childfree, Dating, Parenting, Relationships. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. For every study that supports this there are bound to be as many that support the opposite view point. Another study – see link to follow – suggests that children are an investment in future happiness….
    I’ll admit to mourning (yes mourning) my old child free life and the freedom that came with it but cliche though it sounds have never loved another being like I love my baby.

    • I respect that but I am so not a people person. I can’t even really much stand being in a relationship, much less having kids. I function better as a single, childfree individual.

      I don’t put much stock into “future happiness” because I fully intend to die by age 65 (mandatory retirement age for airline pilots). My career is my life, and I can’t imagine my life without it. I live to go to work, and I’m afraid having a kid wouldn’t change that. It’s just the kind of person I am.

  2. Here’s a link to a study suggesting that children are an ‘investment’ in future happiness.

    http://www.livescience.com/13114-children-parents-happy-eventually.html

    • Well, you enjoy your happiness and I’ll take their word for it.

      “I respect that but I am so not a people person. I can’t even really much stand being in a relationship, much less having kids. I function better as a single, childfree individual.”

      That pretty much sums me up nowadays too.

  3. ” My career is my life, and I can’t imagine my life without it. I live to go to work, and I’m afraid having a kid wouldn’t change that. It’s just the kind of person I am.”

    … I am just about to embark into my career as well and I share the exact same thoughts. As for maintaining a relationship with or without kid that all seems to depend on the goals of you and your spouse. If you both are the nurturing types who want children in your life then the financial drain, lack of freedom/spontaneity, etc is really just a price to pay and does not outweigh the benefits of being a parent. Personally, and this is why I identify as childfree, see the items you listed as significant. My flying career is also the most important thing to me and I see having a family as a detriment to it.

  4. All good stuff, either way, enjoy it while you can! Katelyn – founder, http://www.dinklife.com

  5. Either way, couples need to enjoy it while it lasts and others need to respect the decision, whether forever or temporary – enjoy it! – katelyn, founder, http://www.dinklife.com

  6. I don’t want to deal with someone else’s baggage so marriage is out for me. But I do believe that childfree couples are happier. I think there is mutual respect unlike in childed couples where the women tend to do more than half of the work to keep the relationship/marriage and family life afloat. Women are more likely to lose out when they have kids. I could never bare to lose my identity as a person/individual to become the all-encompassing mother figure always wanting to be perfect and never succeeding.

  7. I agree with your comment about child free couples being more educated. We take the time and indulge in personal development by reading, meditating, etc. We are also bigger risk takers. A child free life has allowed my husband and I to own two businesses and going on a third. We travel enough but plan on doing much more in just a few short years, once we have the third business running like a well-oiled machine. We are both under 50!!

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