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Women with 2+ kids often had more than one partner, study finds

Many Colorado residents have experienced a divorce or some kind of separation from a spouse or partner. In some divorce cases, a couple may have had children together. If one or both of the individuals decide to remarry, it is not entirely unlikely that they could have more children with their new spouse. In a study that tested a new demographic, researchers found that nearly 30 percent of women in the U.S. who have two or more children had them with more than one man.

While earlier studies that researched multiple-partner fertility sampled mostly younger women or women living in urban settings, this study is the first to analyze data collected from women who are past child-bearing years.

The latest study surveyed close to 4,000 women across the country for more than 27 years. Researchers questioned the women on more than 20 occasions about different aspects of their lives. The women were asked to provide information about the men living in their household. If women were in a relationship but did not share a home with their partner, researchers used data from mother and child reports to determine paternity.

The results of the survey were surprising to one researcher. The results showed that of women with two or more children, 28 percent had children by multiple men.

The results were dissected further and revealed that this trend was most common among minority women. According to the findings, 58 percent of the African American women surveyed had more than one fertility partner along with 35 percent of the Hispanic women who participated. The study showed that 22 percent of the white women interviewed had children by more than one father.

While people might think of these people as being single parents who come from poor or uneducated backgrounds, the study showed that these findings also stem from divorced parents who might remarry and have more children.

Source: Spero News: "Who's your daddy?: it's complicated, says U-Michigan study," Diane Swanbrow, 12 April 2011

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