Sample Research Proposal on the Effects of Having a Child on Happiness


The effect of having a child on happiness will be explored. Twenty families (12 females and 8 males) will be asked on the effect of having a child on their happiness. The participants will be asked to explain the type of life they lived before and after having the children. We shall study the parental happiness based on the trajectories that happened before and after the birth of a child in the family. It is predicted that happiness increases in the years after the birth of the first child then decreases as other children are born. The socio demographic pattern was also seen as a factor that influences this pattern.


Most of the researchers have agreed that the birth of a child can have an effect on the happiness of the parents. Most of the women look forward to the birth of their first child hence the thought of holding the tiny one elicits joy in their hearts (Caplan, 2009). As such, they make early preparations to ensure that the child is received is a good and stable environment. On the other hand, the men prepare for the arrival of the child by making the necessary arrangements. Empirical studies have shown that this time of waiting creates a strong bond between the parents since they are filled with expectation regarding the new bundle of joy.

We analyze how the children are able to influence the happiness of the parents in different situations. For instance, in a situation where the parents have decided through mutual consent to have a baby and the economic costs that are associated with raising the child. It is important to understand the reasons as to why this event influences the parental well-being and happiness after the birth of the child. Recent studies have shown an association between the timing of a child’s birth and the happiness of the parents. For instance, if a child is born when the parents are undergoing harsh economic challenges, then it will have an influence in their happiness. They will feel burdened by the added responsibilities that come with the birth of a child.

Additionally, the expectations on the sex of the child have been found to have an influence on the happiness of the parents. In a situation where let us say the parents expected the birth of a boy child, the arrival of a girl might affect their happiness. Gender-based expectations have been pre dominant in developing nations die to the stereotype associated with the sex of the child. The issue of preconceived gender expectations may also cause disagreements in these societies especially when the children are of the same gender within that specific household.

Several studies have highlighted the effects of first-born child on happiness. These studies have significantly varied have looked at the subject of populations whose income is not steady yet have given birth. In one of the studies, the parents were asked to rate the rate of happiness in the birth of a child at a time when the income was low. The males were especially unhappy since they felt this situation would overburden them due to increased costs. The females were unsure on the outcome. In the long-term, the happiness levels of the parents would decrease if a child were born in a household that had not planned for the arrival.

In previous research, the researchers examined whether the parents were less or more happy than those that did not have children. They also highlighted the importance of the stage of life cycle in determining the happiness levels of the parents. If parents are in a stage, where they are past the societal expectations of getting a child, they will be less happy if they get one. In older ages, the society expects that someone should not get a child. On the other hand, the childless parents also experience unhappiness due to constant worry and pressure from the society.

In this present, we shall systematically examine some of the effects that occur when parents get children. It will take into account issues such as preconceived ideas on the sex of the child, and the economic conditions of the parents at the time of birth. (Grimmond, 2012) examines some of the pattern regarding happiness before and after a major event in the life of people such as parenthood. The approach used controls parameters such as personality and the spacing of children as factors that can influence the happiness of parents. When they were expecting to get babies after certain duration and the reverse occurs, it interferes with their happiness.

In his analysis, (Eunjung, 2015) notes that happiness increases around birth, it normally returns to baseline within a period of less than two years. In one of the households examined during the research, they focused on the adaptation of the parents to the birth of a child. As such, we build on the notion that the birth of a child will depend on other issues of demographic, social, and parity characteristics. It will also depend on the pattern that occurs when the children get to grow up. In the long-term, the happiness of parents is likely to increase when the children have already become adults.

It is pertinent to note that the happiness levels of the parents might vary from one household to the other. Age and gender are other factors that affect the happiness of the children. In most of the cases, the responsibilities that come with the birth of a baby increases especially to the mother. As such, it shifts the attention of the mother to the baby. Studies have shown that the changes related to fundamental identities such as from being a wife to a mother or from being lovers to parents’ can affect happiness levels (Myrskyla, 2015). The wife might tend to concentrate on the child thus neglecting the husband without knowing. In the end, it leads to a situation where one of the partners will lack the attention that comes with the birth of the child hence affecting their happiness.

According to a new study that was published in a journal related to demography, the birth of a new child could have a negative influence in the happiness of a person. In fact, the study states that on average, the effect felt by the parents in the first year when the baby is born is normally devastating (Kliessen, 2014). The research considers this influence worse than what one might experience during a divorce or unemployment. The participants selected in this present study will be selected based on the married couples between the ages of 24 to 40. Consistent with the findings made by (Maurgolis, 2015), it is projected that the new parents within this age bracket normally experience changes in happiness levels during the birth of a child.



Forty families living in Germany will be used as participants in this study. The married couples used had stayed for a long period without having a child. They lived in a middle-class society thus having limited income to sustain their day-to-day lives. The participants were required to rate their level of happiness on a scale of zero to ten before and after the birth of a child in their families. Zero implied that they were completely dissatisfied while ten implied they were completely happy or satisfied. The happiness levels were based on the level of satisfaction with their life and all other things taken into account.


The study can be taken as two factors since it considers the happiness levels and the birth of a new child. As such, there are two forms of independent variables. In the family set up, it comprises of the mother and the father. The child is also considered as a factor in this study. It is pertinent to note that happiness is considered a dependent variable since it affects the parents when a child is born.


In this study, we shall use the German socio-economic panel together with the British household panel survey. The former represents a longitudinal study that includes all the participants living in the west and the East German states. It also considers the foreigners and the immigrants living in the mentioned cities. The advantage of using these data sets is that they are able to identify the life satisfaction levels of the parents before and after birth. It is also easy to allow for stratified analysis of data as well as analyzing the factors that affect happiness such as income, and added responsibilities. Even though the measure used does not take into account the entire experience of having a child, it is good and preferable to direct questions related to child bearing since some parents consider it a taboo to speak ill about the newborn children.


The goal of this study was to gain an insight on some of the long-standing issues related to the birth of children within a family. In Germany, surveys showed that most of the couples prefer to have two children thus making the birth rate to remain low. The research will focus on the couples that got children during the time of observation or of conducting the study. As such, we shall exclude the ones that had children before taking part in the survey. It will only consider the individuals that started the study while childless and whom we shall examine after the birth of the first child. The German sample will comprise of forty couples that had eighty births over an average follow up period of two years.

One of the critical outcomes refers to the subjective well-being of some of these parents after the birth of the child. In the sample, the participants were asked on annual basis if they were satisfied with their life when all things such as the birth of a child are considered. The responses given ranged from zero to ten. The first measure used to test general happiness is based on a question asked in the study of if the participants have felt reasonably happy when the child is born. They gave responses that ranged from one as being less happy to four as being more than happy. While experiencing with all measures, the analytical results showed a level of dependence on the dependent variable with the happiness levels decreasing as the child reaches two years. General happiness is used to rescale the variable that ranges from a value of zero to ten.


While examining the results, it was found out that most of the couples started out as being happy when they began their life together or immediately after having the first child. In addition, their happiness levels were higher in the initial year prior to the birth of their first child. The reason for this increase in happiness was due to the anticipation they had towards the birth of a new baby. It could have been due to the excitement that comes with this news without considering the lifestyle changes. It was after the child was born that the parents would later experience a divergence in their happiness levels.


According to the statistics from the research, only thirty percent of the parents remained in the same state of happiness when the child was born. The remaining participants confessed that their happiness levels decreased after the birth of their first and second child. Of the new fathers and mothers that took part in the study, it was found out that only thirty-seven percent of them reported a unit drop of happiness. Seventeen percent reported a three-unit drop while nineteen percent a two unit drop in terms of happiness. On average, the results showed that the new parenthood would lead to a 2.4 unit drop on the level of happiness.

To put this issue into perspective, previous studies had explained the influence of major life events on the happiness of humans. It was found out that the birth of a child has a higher happiness drop in unit compared to unemployment or divorce. The major consequence of this is that most of the children in the study confessed to having stopped getting other children due to drop in happiness. The results revealed that the higher the level of unhappiness after the first child, the lower the likelihood of them having a second baby. One of the surprising things about this research is that the participants did not equate the gender of a child to their happiness levels.

In both studies, the results showed that the happiness level of the parents would start to increase before a child is born. It will also remain at the same position after the second one comes along. However, it shows that the overall happiness of the parent will remain high if they were in good health during these births. Moreover, the happiness levels of the women will also tend to remain higher compared to those of the men immediately after the child is born.


Caplan, B. (2009). The Effect of Children on Happiness: The Latest from the Research Frontier. International Journal of Happiness , 23-29.

Eunjung, A. (2015). It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment — even the death of a partner. Washington D.C: The Washington Post.

Grimmond, G. (2012). How having children robs parents of their happiness: The Men are Affected by Unexpected Births than Women. Chicago: Springer Publishers.

Kliessen, H. D. (2014). Decades of Studies Show What Happens to Marriages After Having Kids. International Journal of Demographics , 12-25.

Maurgolis, P. S. (2015). Having children later makes parents happy: A study shows that delaying family formation is associated with higher satisfaction levels. Journal of Social and Behavioural Sciences , 10-18.

Myrskyla, M. (2015). The Level of Happiness, Before and After Having the Kids. International Journal of Demographics and Satisfaction Levels , 12-19.