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Survey: Adults Without Kids Are Happier Than Parents

The Short of It

A recent and Yahoo Parenting Happiness Survey found that people without children are happier than parents. However, the majority of moms and dads feel happier now that they have children and more than half of the child-free think they'd be happier as parents.

The Lowdown

The survey of nearly 1,800 Americans in April uncovered how the impact of parenting, relationship status and work affect people's happiness. An overwhelming majority of people without children are happy (91 percent) compared to parents (81 percent). In addition, the child-free are more likely to say they're "very happy" than parents (29 percent vs. 17 percent). Despite this, 54 percent of the child-free think they'd be happier if they were a mother or father, and approximately 30 percent of parents think they're actually happier than those without kids. Sixty-two percent of moms and dads say they're happier now compared to life before children, though 70 percent also say they're more stressed now.

A majority of moms and dads (81 percent) say they no longer define happiness the same way now that they have kids, and 60 percent say their happiness level frequently adjusts based on their children's happiness.

"Once you're a parent, your priorities and source of happiness completely changes," said Katie Bugbee, senior managing editor and global parenting expert at "Our survey found that although parents are more worried and stressed, their children make them the happiest than they've ever been and they're actually the No. 1 source of happiness. It's a more realistic feeling because so much of a parent's happiness is dependent on their children, and they know that their emotions can suddenly shift."

Perhaps surprisingly for those engaged in the mommy wars, the happiness quotient ranks fairly equally across working and stay-at-home moms and dads (92 percent and 87 percent respectively). Stay-at-home caregivers are a bit more likely to feel lonely (17 percent) and bored (19 percent) than working mothers and fathers (8 percent, respectively), but approximately half of the stay-at-home crowd (52 percent) are very satisfied with their life.

The Upshot

The upside of all this information, Bugbee told Yahoo Parenting, is that "we can start to analyze what it is that might make us unhappy." For example, she wonders, how can we find moments in our daily life to do things that will make us happier?

"Talk with your employer about going part-time, perhaps, or work with your partner to lighten your load if you're stressed," she advises. "What's most important is really just opening the lines of communication."

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