Women More Likely Than Men to Have Multiple Babies by Multiple Partners

Terence P. Jeffrey | April 20, 2017 | 4:31pm EDT
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(Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

(CNSNews.com) - American women are more likely than American men to have multiple babies by multiple partners, according to a recently released Census Bureau report.

Having multiple babies with multiple partners is what the Census Bureau calls “multiple partner fertility” or “MPF.”

“MPF parents are not just parents—they are parents to two or more children,” said the Census Bureau report. “A parent of only one child cannot have children with more than one partner.”

“Among mothers with two or more children,” said the report, “21.6 percent have multiple partner fertility, while 19.3 percent of fathers of two or more children have multiple partner fertility.”

Among all American women 15 and older, 11.4 percent have had multiple babies by multiple partners. Among all American men 15 and older, only 8.6 percent have had multiple babies with multiple partners.

Among all women 15 and older who have given birth to at least one baby, 16.6 percent have gone on to give birth to multiple babies by multiple fathers.

By contrast, among all men 15 and older who have biologically fathered at least one baby, 14.6 percent have gone on to father multiple babies by multiple mothers.

“Parents with multiple partner fertility are identified by the children born to them (or, for men, biologically fathered by them),” says the Census Bureau report.

“Custody of children is not a defining factor,” it says, “a parent does not have to live with any of his or her children to be a multiple partner fertility parent.”

“Multiple partner fertility,” the report explains, “is also not defined by current marital status; married, divorced, cohabitating, and single parents can all have multiple partner fertility.”

The Census Bureau gathered data on “multiple partner fertility” in its 2014 “Survey of Income and Program Participation,” which the bureau says was “the first nationally-representative survey to include a direct question about multiple partner fertility.”

The data in its recent report on “MPF” comes from this survey.

Because of the prevalence of multiple partner fertility, the Census survey discovered, only 77.7 percent of couples who have children together have only children with each other. The rest of American couples who have children with each other include at least one partner who has also had a child with someone else.

Another recent Census Bureau report looked at the relationships between marriage, unmarried cohabitation and the fathering and mothering of children.

“The majority of mothers and fathers are married, and the majority of married parents have children with their spouse,” this Census Bureau report said.

“However,” said the Census Bureau, “17.8 percent of married mothers and 16.5 percent of married fathers do not have children with their current spouse; these are parents who have children only by someone other than their current spouse.”

Some of these spouses bring to their marriage children from a “prior relationship.”

“These data also show the complexity of modern families,” says the Census Bureau. “12.4 percent of married mothers and 12.6 percent of married fathers do not have children with their current spouse but their spouse also brought children into the marriage.”

It is also common, this report said, for unmarried couples to have children—which can lead to households where children are not bonded by either blood or marriage to one of the cohabitating partners.

“Cohabitation refers to couples who live together but are not married,” said the Census report. “Roughly half of cohabitating mothers have children with their partner, while just over half of cohabitating fathers do. Notably, about a third of cohabitating parents of either sex do not have children with their current partner, but their partner is nonetheless also a parent by a prior relationship.

“Although some of these cohabitating parents are likely older and with adult children,” said the Census Bureau, “some certainly have minor children. Such households are not connected by either birth or marriage, but nonetheless represent a common living arrangement for many children.”

Almost one in five American marriages includes a partner who has had a child by someone else. More than a quarter of cohabiting couples in this country include at least one partner who has had a child by someone else other than their current partner.

“For married opposite-sex couples, 19.2 percent include at least one partner who has MPF,” the Census Bureau reported. “Among cohabiting couples, MPF is more common; in 27.6 percent of these couples, one or both partners has MPF.”

Women in the United States are also generally more likely than men to have a biological child. As of 2014, the Census Bureau reported, 68.7 percent of women 15 or older had a biological child, while only 59.2 of men had fathered one.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent or more of the babies born in the United States during the last eight years on record (2008 through 2015) were born to unmarried mothers.

The last time the percentage of babies born to unmarried mothers was below 20 percent was 1982, according to the CDC’s birth data. A baby born that year would turn 35 this year.

[Editor's Note: "Table 1. Overall Prevalence of Multiple Partner Fertility: 2014," which is reproduced above, is a screen capture of the table published by the Census Bureau in its "Multiple Partner Fertility Research Brief." "Figure 1. Fertility of Couples With Shared Biological Children: 2014" and "Table 1. Fertility Indicators: 2014" are screen captures of the figure and table published by the Census Bureau in its "Fertility Research Brief."]

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