T Nation

Babies are for Idiots?


Maternal Urge Decreases in Women with Higher IQ


A new study suggests that women who are highly intelligent may be more likely to choose not to have children.

According to the survey conducted by Satoshi Kanazawa, a researcher at the London School of Economics (LSE), women lose a quarter of their urge to have children with every 15 extra IQ points.

The study, which cites data from the UK's National Child Development Study, remained the same even when Kanazawa added economics and education as controls.

His findings are backed up by statistics which show that, whereas just 20% of British women over the age of 45 are childless, the figure rises to 43% for women with degrees.

According to a Mail Online report, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the proportion of childless women had almost doubled in the last two decades.

No happiness link

A 2009 study conducted at the University of York had previously suggested the notion that parenthood results in happiness may be a myth.

"Social scientists have found almost zero association between having children and happiness," lead researcher Dr. Nattavudh Powdthavee said in a news release.

"In a recent study of British adults for example we found that parents and non-parents reported the same levels of life satisfaction. Other studies from Europe and the USA found that parents report significantly lower levels of satisfaction than people who haven't had children", Powdthavee said.

Powdthavee further explained that drawing happiness from parenthood is a 'focussing illusion' wherein people concentrate only on the good things about parenting. These include the rare experiences of seeing the child's first smile or seeing them getting settled in life.


that makes sense to me.I know plenty of dumb women who got knocked up young. and the smart scholarly girl who has babies is the exception to the rule.
most smart women have their priorities right early on. contraception is a beautiful thing.


My mind is blown they had to do a study to come to this conclusion. It is the case, lol.

Call it an illusion or whatever word you want, the first time your daughter asks for a kiss when you drop her off in the morning will make you happy for weeks just thinking about.


This leads to a disturbing issue. Basically the lower IQ keep pumping out kids. Great.


Somewhat related.


Pretty much.


Completely agree. It has been shown time and time again how well a child does in school directly stems from his/her home life and parental involvement in their education. And it starts early.


Sadly, this is exactly what our world is looking like. Loved that movie.


1) If you have a high IQ and you plan on no having kids your allowing us to be out bred by lower IQ people.

2) If you dont have kids can you really comment on the experience of having and raising children?

Give me 5 minutes and i'll find a peer reviewed study to support any opinion you may have.


Not a movie, its a documentary of our future. Welcome to costco I love you.


Seems to me that the most intelligent people in the world, of which many are women, derive their "meaning of life" in the form of their work. I imagine it's tough to think about kids when you spend most waking hours in the lab/ER/etc. Can it (having kids+pushing the scientific envelope) be done? Sure, but it's more than some people are willing to take on at once. I think it's a fair trade provided the outliers on the IQ scale contribute to the existing body of knowledge in their field of choice.


Disclaimer: I don't you are this person.

However, I think the majority of the world has kids in order to give meaning to a life that didn't live up to their expectations. It certainly isn't fun for the individual to think he/she is just another meaningless cog even though he/she, at some level, fills a vital role in society.

But a child represents hope and endless possibility, a way for the the legacy of every individual to be one that is remembered. That child represents you, even though the "you" in the child is only really half of your DNA.


Sure. Comments, observations and ideas are fine. I wouldn't expect very many parents to pay much attention to anything that comes off as "advice" from non-parents though. And I would expect at the very least a curt rebuff if you try and tell them what to do, or they are doing something wrong.


I don't know about any of this. I just want to have a son so I can mold him into the ultimate human.


OPINION: The degree to which an Internet forum post is taken seriously by other members of the forum is directly correlated to the poster's appropriate use of punctuation, capitalization and syntax.

Eagerly awaiting peer-reviewed study. You have five minutes. Go.



I can't say I agree, or disagree for that matter. Would need to think about it more, but off the top I would say that is more likely to hold true for a man than a woman I would think.


I wonder how different these "life satisfaction results" would look if the researchers could ask all the same people these questions in 40 years, when most of these people have retired and they really have nothing left but their things because they devoted their life to a career that is now over. I would be willing to be that the childless people surveyed will start to feel regret creeping in.

I also question how accurate the results from a study like this would be as any number of factors can lead to differences in number of offspring and higher IQ is more a road marker to the true cause, my guess would be career drive.


Really? I once served on the PTA board in Japan, and was also an English teacher. I saw countless examples of mommies living vicariously through their children, as if their entire existence hinged on the results of little Taro or Kumiko's grades and exam scores. The dads were like this to a limited extent, but more focused on athletic performance and martial arts achievement than academic prowess.

It's like this in the States, too, but in Japan it seems more intense. The Japanese have higher IQs than Americans do, and have fewer children per family. Whether these two facts are causative or correlative is a matter of debate.


I once read a study that claimed the type of people who put their children in extra-curricular activities and were heavily involved in their children's education were high IQ parents to begin with.

Basically, so long as you create a stable environment for the child (2 parent home, non-abusive), the returns are same whether you're heavily involved or passively.


Well sure. I've seen this a lot as well. I don't know if that means they had the kid for the purpose of doing that though.

One thing I tell people who are trying or thinking about having kids is the following:

Having a kid or kids is going to do one of two things, bring you and your spouse closer together, or drive you apart. You won't know which until it is too late, with the former obviously the better.

You see a lot of parents become so hyper focused on their kids they forget to have their own life. It is a delicate balance, but when your kids are young and need constant attention it isn't as much of a problem as it is once they get older and you realize you have nothing for you, including your spouse.

I feel like what you're describing could be a symptom of that rather than outright having the kid for legacy purposes or fulfillment you didn't previously have. But the situation you describe is sure to happen if that is why they had the kid to begin with.

It is an interesting idea. I haven't the slightest as to which side to argue though, lol.