Do Parents of Multiples Have a Higher Divorce Rate?

Surely the stresses of raising a set of sextuplets and a set of twins must have contributed to the breakdown of Jon and Kate Gosselin’s marriage, but what about other families with multiples? It’s been rumored that parents with twins and more have a higher divorce rate, so it’s interesting to examine the preliminary findings issued by Mothers of Supertwins (MOST) from an ongoing survey they’ve been conducting on “Divorce and the Multiple Birth Family.”

The survey began on June 25, 2009. As of this writing, they had surveyed more than 2,800 parents or guardians of multiples. Most of the participants were:

– Mothers (97.5%)
– US residents (93.4%)
– Predominantly Caucasian (92.4%)
– An average age of 32 when their multiples were conceived
– In households with an average of 3 children, mostly families with twins (61%) or triplets (30%)
– Married for the first time (86%)

Although it’s widely reported that 40-50% of first marriages in the United States end in divorce, that doesn’t seem to be the case for parents of multiples, even though, as MOST reports, “it certainly makes sense that parents of multiples would face additional emotional, financial, and medical-related stressors.” Additional findings revealed that:

– 4.3% of respondents divorced during the pregnancy or following the birth of multiples
– More than 95% of marriages were intact
– Approximately 82% of the respondents reported overall positive marital satisfaction

Overall, they found a divorce rate among respondents of 3.6% for parents of twins, 5% for parents of triplets, 9.2% for parents of quadruplets, and 4.2% for parents with quintuplets/sextuplets or more than one set of multiples.

MOST cautions that this study is ongoing and has certain limitations, but it is interesting to note that the findings thus far indicate a much lower rate of divorce among families with multiples than expected. Read MOST’s report at If you’re a parent of multiples, you can also access the survey through this page.

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About Susan Heim

Susan M. Heim is an author and editor, specializing in multiples, parenting, women’s and Christian issues. Her books include "Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power"; "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More"; "It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence"; "Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples and Singletons"; and, "Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year." Upcoming books include "Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Women," and "Moms of Multiples' Devotions to Go." Susan's articles and essays have appeared in many books, magazines and Web sites. She is a member of the National Association of Women Writers and the Southeastern Writers Association, and has a degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. Susan lives with her husband and four sons (two teenagers and twin grade-schoolers) in Florida.

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  1. Perhaps the reason for the lower than average is that these parent have often undergone IVF or have had difficulty conceiving and so are far more prepared both financially and emotionally.

  2. Interesting statistics. Even I thought that parents of multiples will have a higher divorce rate. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that twins are more adorable. :)