No Child-Shaped Hole in Hearts of Barren Women

The solipsism of childlessness may be deplorable, but it’s not unhappy:

Although they won’t receive flowers or candy on Mother’s Day, women who have not had children seem to be just as happy in their 50s as those who did go down the family path.

In fact the loneliest, least contented and most vulnerable women were found to be mothers who were single, divorced or widowed in middle age, according to new research. Being healthy and having a partner gave a bigger boost to women’s happiness and well-being than being mothers, with education, work and relationships with family and friends also important factors.

“Among this group of women in their 50s the childless women are very similar to the moms in terms of their psychological well-being,” said Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox, a sociology professor at the University of Florida and the lead author of the study.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center