Almost one in eight men would like a polygamous marriage

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
August 16, 2017, 9:31 AM GMT+0

Men are three times more likely than women to say they would like to have multiple spouses

In late July, two Canadian religious leaders were found guilty of practising polygamy – being married to more than one person at the same time. Fundamentalist Mormon Winston Blackmore was found to be married to 24 women and his former brother-in-law, James Olner, was married to five.

As in Canada, polygamous marriages may not be performed in Britain, although there is limited recognition for such marriages legally entered into abroad. But if this law were to change would there be much appetite for polygamy in Britain and, if so, how many partners would Britons want to have?

Now, YouGov Omnibus can reveal that 12% of British men, and 4% of British women, would like to be in polygamous marriages. One in twenty men (5%) and one in fifty women (2%) would like to have two married partners, while an identical number in both cases would like three, and a further 2% of men would like four or more married partners (compared to a statistical 0% of women).

Nevertheless, monogamous marriage is still by far the most popular option. The majority of Brits (60% of women and 53% of men) would stick with the single spouse should polygamy become legal in the UK.

For a sizeable minority of Britons, however, the ideal number of spouses is none. A quarter of women and 17% of men say that they wouldn’t want to have a husband or wife.

While a majority of people in each age group preferred a monogamous marriage, older people were the most likely to prefer a single spouse (58% of 60-65 year olds and 65% of 65+ year olds). This seems to be in large part because younger people were more likely to have responded “don’t know” to the question (27% of 18-24 year olds and 17% of 25-49 year olds, compared to 9% of those aged 50+).

Photo: Getty

Find out more about YouGov Omnibus research

Explore more data & articles