Hollywood Actress Cameron Diaz:
Hollywood Actress Cameron Diaz has elected to remain childless.  Image Credit: REUTERS

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.

"But in reality, we rarely think about these big experiences on a daily basis, simply because they do not occur to us every day," Powdthavee explained.

"Instead, parents spend much of their time attending to the very core processes of childcare - problems at school, cooking and laundry - which are much more frequent but a lot less salient events. And it is these small but negative experiences that are more likely to impact on our day-to-day levels of happiness and life satisfaction," Powdthavee concluded.