For those interested in the fate of our culture, New York Magazine is an indispensable barometer. This single magazine, perhaps more than any other periodical, offers feature articles that catch the cultural conversation. Granted, that cultural conversation is largely Manhattan-centric and geared to the highly educated and economically secure classes. But, since those are the very people who tend to direct the cultural conversation, what interests them will almost surely soon interest the rest of the nation.

This week, the issue is children and happiness. Not the happiness of children, but the debate over whether having children makes for parental happiness. Looking first to the sociological and psychological data, the picture looks bleak. According to the current scholarly consensus, parents are more likely to be depressed than non-parents, and parents report themselves as less happy as well….

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