If you’re a man, find yourself a spouse to boost your happiness. If you’re a woman? “Don’t bother.” According to a new study, women who have no children and who aren’t married are the happiest people of all. Not only that, but they’re more likely to live longer than married women with children.
According to The Guardian, Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics, says that the latest evidence reveals that marriage and children aren’t necessarily going to make women happier. This flies in the face of common – though unscientific – wisdom that says women are most satisfied in life when they have children and a spouse.
“Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they’re asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: f**king miserable,” he said.
He went on to explain that marriage seems to make men happier – or at least less unhappy – because they “calmed down” once they got hitched. But for women, staying single is the way to go.
“You take less risks, you earn more money at work, and you live a little longer. She, on the other hand, has to put up with that, and dies sooner than if she never married. The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children,” he said while speaking at the Hay Festival in Wales.
“We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that science and just say: if you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.”
According to a leading expert in happiness, not only are single, childless women happy — they’re actually happier than the rest of the population. https://t.co/37cXqhIftB
— Refinery29 (@Refinery29) May 27, 2019
Dolan studied unmarried, married, divorced, separated, and widowed men and women to determine levels of pleasure and misery. Those who were unmarried reported lower levels of misery than those who are married. Married, middle-aged women were at the highest risk of physical and mental health issues.
Dolan conceded that some women face stigma when they are single and childless. He said that many people look at a single 40-year-old woman and think that it’s a “shame.” But the data shows that she is probably better off than if she were married or had kids, and more likely to die younger if she has kids and a spouse.
Dolan, whose latest book is Happy Ever After, says that there does appear to be a financial benefit to marriage, and it creates an environment where people are more likely to get medical help and to take more risks.