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Children make you happier - as long as you can pay for them

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Raising children is a source of happiness, right?

Well, it turns out the data tells a more complicated story.

Do children bring happiness? Research shows the answer is more complicated than expected.

For the past two decades a growing troupe of researchers has been investigating happiness across the globe.

They've found marriage tends to make people happier, unemployment makes them miserable and that wealthy nations are happier, on average, than poorer ones.

Happiness researchers have also discovered a wellbeing "curve" where satisfaction levels fall away in middle-age before rebounding later in life. This pattern is surprisingly consistent across countries and cultures (the happiness nadir comes in our late 40s and early 50s).

But one of the more puzzling findings from all this wellbeing research is that having children doesn't seem to make people any happier.

In fact, a number of major studies found children lowered parents' happiness.

That raises some big questions. If becoming a parent makes you unhappier why do so many people do it? And why do parents with one child have more if it makes them less satisfied?

Economists David Blanchflower and Andrew Clark, who specialise in the study of happiness, decided to investigate further.

They reviewed a long-running survey conducted by the European Union which asked more........

© Canberra Times