Research finds women are happier if they choose to skip kids and marriage

Words by Maeve Kerr-Crowley

Smile, single ladies.

Forget everything you’ve been told about marriage equalling success. According to behavioural scientist Paul Dolan, the happiest people out there are unmarried, childless women.

Speaking at Hay Festival in Wales over the weekend, Dolan referenced findings from his latest book, Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life.

His assessment is based on data from the American Time Use Survey, which showed that married people only reported increased happiness when their spouse was in the room. When alone, married women reported higher levels of misery than their unmarried counterparts.

Dolan’s research indicates that women without spouses are not only happier but tend to live longer.

“We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time,” Dolan said at the festival, “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.”

He explained that marriage has the benefit of calming men down, allowing them to make more money, take fewer risks and live longer. Married women, on the other hand, find themselves having to “put up” with more, which can potentially shorten their lives.

So, keep that in mind the next time you’re feeling down about the single life.


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