Having Kids Adds Years to Your Life

Based on this data, all the childless souls out there may want to take another look at what they're missing

A new study has found that having kids might just add years to a person’s lifespan.

Of course, if your kid is a good-for-nothing hooligan and sociopath who tortures hamsters and eventually winds up in prison for embezzling from his grandmother’s Etsy business — well, you might not really enjoy your extra years on the planet.

But even so, researchers from Sweden discovered that people with children might live two years longer than those without children.

Considering the human lifespan is already pretty variable, we’re not really sure how maybe gaining two years is a scientific result worth noting. But the authors of the study got published in The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, which is apparently some big whoop, so we have to give props where props are due.

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Dr. Karin Modig and her colleagues found that old studies suggested parents may live longer than those without children — but no one understood why.

So the team used Sweden’s national registry data to gather info on more than 700,000 men and 700,000 women born between 1911 and 1925. Each person’s marital status, number of children and the gender of each child were documented. Then the research team calculated how having kids influenced the lifespan of each study participant from the age of 60 on.


And compared to child-free people, those who had had at least one child appeared to live longer.

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Men with kids seemed to live about two years longer; women with kids were likely to live around a year and a half longer than childless souls enjoying their retirement and a fresh baguette with jam on the terrace of their pied-à-terre in Paris.

We think the one to two extra years of life for parents can be attributed to the “when are you going to finally give me some grandchildren” phenomenon — but then, we are not the scientists here.

This article originally appeared in SheKnows and is used by permission. Jennifer Mattern is perhaps best known as the author of the popular parenting blog Breed ‘Em and Weep (2005-2012). She’s written for many publications, including Brain, Child Magazine, Literary Mama, and The Boston Globe. She lives in western Massachusetts with her two daughters. 

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