Partners more important than kids in having a fulfilling life

May 27, 2015, 10:08 PM UTC

Americans are divided on whether life can be fulfilling without children, though the vast majority of parents are glad they did have kids

Like most developed countries, fewer and fewer children are being born in the United States. People are also less likely to be married than at any point since 1920, with only the slimmest majority of Americans (50.3%) saying that they are currently married. As society has changed and it becomes rarer to start a family, get married or, since the financial crisis, own a home, many people may be saying that they are not necessary to living a fulfilling life. 

YouGov's latest research shows that for many Americans having a child is an important part of leading a truly fulfilling life, but not as important as having a partner. 50% of Americans say life without a long-term partner is either not at all or only a little fulfilling, something 44% say about not having children. Americans are, in fact, essentially as likely to say that never owning a home (46%) can prevent a fulfilling life. 

Even so, of the 60% of respondents who said that they have been a parent or guardian during their lives, the vast majority (89%) are glad that they had children. Only 10% of Americans are either not glad (4%) or not sure (6%) whether they are glad or not to have had children. Lower income Americans are slightly less likely than high income Americans to say that they are glad they had kids. 86% of people living in households with incomes under $40,000 a year are glad, compared to 93% of people living in households with incomes over $80,000. 

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.