Study Finds Having Your First Child Can Be Worse for Happiness Than Divorce or Unemployment

Don’t shoot the messenger.

The Washington Post recently shared findings of a study done by the journal Demography that a large percentage of couples experienced a much higher rate of happiness prior to a child.

According to their findings, parenthood can be “worse than divorce, worse than unemployment, and worse even than the death of a partner.”

The researchers followed 2,016 Germans (so yes, it may be different in Canada) and tracked their happiness levels from their childless days up until at least two years after having their first child. The study’s findings showed that the average drop in happiness was caused by new parenthood and amounted a 1.4 measured on a ten-unit scale.


And that’s not a good thing – especially since that drop is larger than events such as divorce, which causes a 0.6 unit drop, or unemployment and the death of a partner, a 1-unit drop.

The negative experiences that were felt amongst the studied couples caused many of them to stop having children after their first. The effect was also stronger in mothers and fathers who are over 30 years of age and have a higher education.

But no one ever said it would be easy, right?

If you are parents, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this on our Facebook page. Chime in and educate us on the trials and tribulations of parenthood.