Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics, found that women who are unmarried and childless are the happiest subgroup in the population, according to The Guardian.
The latest evidence comparing levels of pleasure and misery in unmarried, married, divorced, separated, and widowed individuals shows that traditional markers that measure success, with emphasis on marriage and raising children, do not correlate with happiness.
Dolan says men are the biggest beneficiaries of marriage: “ If you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.”
While men show more health benefits from marriage, as Dolan suggests, women’s health remains mostly unaffected. However, middle-aged women are at a higher risk of physical and mental conditions when compared to their single peers.
Dolan criticized the existing stigma that marriage and children were signs of success. Although studies point to the benefits of a single, childless lifestyle for women, the traditional narrative of what it means to be happy could cause single women to feel unhappy.
“You see a single woman of 40, who has never had children - ‘Bless, that’s a shame, isn’t it? Maybe one day you’ll meet the right guy and that’ll change.’ No, maybe she’ll meet the wrong guy and that’ll change. Maybe she’ll meet a guy who makes her less happy and healthy, and die sooner,” he said.