Expert says women without marriage or kids are ‘happiest population subgroup’

Getty Images

A top behavioral science professor says that research shows women who have never married or had children are among the happiest and healthiest.

Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics, said recently that evidence shows women benefit less than men from marriage, The Guardian reported.

“We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that science and just say: if you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother,” he said.

{mosads}Dolan, the author of a new book on the topic that cites data from the American Time Use Survey, said at the Hay literary festival in Wales that men were more likely to benefit from getting married because they’re likely to “take less risks” after being betrothed, which he said will allow them to “live a little longer.”

“She, on the other hand, has to put up with that, and dies sooner than if she never married. The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children,” he continued. 

“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,’” Dolan said. 

“No, maybe she’ll meet the wrong guy and that’ll change,” he added. “Maybe she’ll meet a guy who makes her less happy and healthy, and die sooner.”

His remarks arrives on the heels of a recent study from Bentley University that found that more and more millennials have been refusing to get married at historic levels.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that birth rates in the United States hit their lowest point in decades last year, particularly among women in their teens and 20s.

A number of prominent women —  including actress Tracee Ellis Ross, Emma Watson, Oprah Winfrey and countless other — have become more vocal in recent years about their decision to embrace being single and without children.

“I’m constantly asking myself questions, reminding myself, ‘Are you making that decision for you or someone else?’” Ross, 46, said in an interview last year with The Sunday Times Style. “The husband and the babies are the expectation of what’s supposed to happen at a certain point, and people fall back on, ‘Well, that’s the point of the human species, procreation.’ And I’m, like, ‘I think there are a lot of babies, isn’t that part of what’s going wrong, there’s too many?’ Some people could be working on the world being a better place, or just being happy.”

Chelsea Handler also wrote about embracing the single life in Time magazine in 2016, writing at the time: “Without single women and their impressive sense of self, we’d be without Queen Elizabeth I, Marie-Sophie Germain, Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, Jane Austen, Harper Lee, Diane Keaton, Greta Garbo, Jane Goodall and me, myself and I.”

“Being single is delightfully more than it’s cracked up to be … if you can stand the horror of your own company, that is,” the 44-year-old comedian continued. 

Winfrey, 65, has also been vocal about her decision not to marry and why she’ll never have regrets about not marrying her longtime beau, Stedman Graham.

“The only thing I ever regret is bringing up Stedman’s name so much,” she said previously. “Some people think that’s some kind of longing I have to be married, but I just mention him because he’s in my life, like Gayle is in my life, like my dogs are in my life.” 

Tags Oprah Winfrey

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video