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Photo: Tina Franklin via Flickr

According to social scientists, parents are less happy than the non-parents. According to their findings, regardless of what stage of life you might be at, having children makes you significantly less happy compared to folks who don’t have kids.

New research in the American Journal of Sociology shows that out of 22 developed counties, U.S. parents are the most miserable, posting the largest gap (13%) between parents and non-parents.

The good news is that parents are not doomed to be unhappier than non-parents. In fact, in some countries, such as Norway and Hungary, parents are actually happier than non-parents.

So what gives? Well, it has a lot to do with social policy. Countries with better family policy “packages” had no happiness gap between parents and non-parents. Additionally, this was true between both mothers and fathers. Policies such as subsidized child care and guaranteed paid sick and vacation days made everyone happier, especially parents.

Do you feel a better social policy will make you significantly happier? Let us know in the comments below!

H/T: Quartz