There’s been a rash of studies and stories lately purporting to measure how happy or unhappy we are as parents (Two-daughter families, you’re golden). Now there’s another one: new research published in Population and Development Review says that while parents under 30 are decidedly less happy than their childless peers, those over 40 report more joy than people their age who don’t have children. And while more children decreases happiness for the under-30 set, the more kids the better for those over 50.
Plus: Does Having Kids Make You Less Happy?
The study did not differentiate between 40+ parents who are raising older children, or those who became first-time parents after age 40, so it’s hard to get at the why here. Is it that older kids are lower-maintenance, allowing for a bit more personal time? Or at age 40, you’ve lived enough to not worry about what you’re missing and really embrace parenthood? Researchers think that, especially for parents in poorer health, there’s satisfaction in knowing you will have someone to take care of you as you get older.
Plus: 10 Tricks to Finding Happiness as a Mom
Older parents: do you think you’re happier than younger moms and dads?