The more children the couple has, the happier they are, according to the study.
University of Glasgow economics professor Luis Angeles came to these results in a new study titled "Children and Life Satisfaction," published in the aptly named Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies.
Angeles' findings contradict previous research suggesting that more children do not make people any happier, and in some cases make them less satisfied. The reason? More children means more work raising them, according to previous research.
But Angeles found that most people place their children near or even at the top of their list of what's important to them, and attributed individual characteristics, including marital status, gender, age, income and education, as more important factors than the actual number of children.
Angeles found that for married individuals of all ages, children increase life satisfaction. In fact, life satisfaction improved with more children in the household.
For unmarried individuals, raising children has little or no positive effect on their happiness, Angeles found.
That's not to say negative experiences in raising children weren't reported. They were, by those who were separated, living as a couple or single and unmarried. Common complaints were how children took a toll on parents' social lives and leisure time.
Slate's Double X blog notes that the magic number -- that is, where the maximum happiness is found relative to the work involved -- is three children.
The factor that turns children from a burden to a benefit? Marriage, according to the study.