Does Lone Motherhood Decrease Women’s Subjective Well-Being? Evidence from Qualitative and Quantitative Research
AbstractThis paper contributes to the discussion on the effects of single motherhood on happiness. We use a mixed-method approach. First, based on in-depth interviews with mothers who gave birth while single, we explore mechanisms through which children may influence mothers’ subjective well-being. In a second step, we analyze panel survey data to quantify this influence. Our results leave no doubt that, while raising a child outside of marriage poses many challenges, parenthood has some positive influence on a lone mother’s life. Our qualitative evidence shows that children are a central point in an unmarried woman’s life, and that many life decisions are taken with consideration of the child’s welfare, including escaping from pathological relationships. Our quantitative evidence shows that, although the general level of happiness among unmarried women is lower than among their married counterparts, raising a child does not have a negative impact on their subjective well-being.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 48.
Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
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nonmarital childbearing; single motherhood; happiness; well-being; methodological triangulation; mixed methods;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-05-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2012-05-22 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-HAP-2012-05-22 (Economics of Happiness)
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