Happiness is notoriously hard to quantify, but that hasn't stopped many people over the years from trying to answer this question: Are single women or married women more content?
And while the jury's still out, we do know more than ever about life on both sides of the coin.
It's clear that marriage doesn't have the chops it once did. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the percentage of married people is on a steady decline, from 72 percent in 1970 to just 48 percent this year. And perceptions of marriage have changed too. A CBC News poll found that 7 in 10 Americans said the institution of marriage is weaker now than 20 years ago.
We have good reason to think less of marriage now: Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers' seminal 2009 University of Pennsylvania study "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness" found that marital happiness has declined for both men and women over the last 35 years, and as psychologist Gregory M. Herek told WebMD, marital dissatisfaction not only affects spouses' emotional wellbeing but can also cause negative health effects. Reinforcing the case against marriage is the fact that U.S. divorce rates, though they have leveled in recent years, are still sky high.
In many ways, staying single makes sense, especially for women.