Parenthood and Life Satisfaction in Germany

Matthias Pollmann-Schult

Abstract


This article examines the association between parenthood and life satisfaction. It focuses on the question to which extent parental life satisfaction is influenced by individual and familial context. The empirical study is based on the data from the first wave of the German Family Panel (pairfam). All in all, the analyses show that although parents are less satisfied with their leisure time, their social contacts and their relationship, they are nonetheless more satisfied with their life in general than their childless peers. Increased life satisfaction is observed in particular in the first years following the birth of a child. The satisfaction of parents is, however, dependent upon different contextual factors. Parents in the medium and higher income ranges report a comparatively high degree of life satisfaction, whereas only a weak association is observed between parenthood and life satisfaction among low-income persons. Moreover, the life satisfaction of mothers, but not of fathers, varies with their employment status. For instance, only non-employed and part-time employed mothers report a greater life satisfaction than childless women. Finally, fathers whose family formation was presumably unplanned record no higher level of satisfaction than men without children.

Keywords


Life satisfaction; Parenthood; Happiness

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