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Many Moms Have Kids With Different Dads, U.S. Study Finds

FRIDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- More than one-quarter of women in the United States with two or more children have had children with different men, a new study shows.

University of Michigan demographer Cassandra Dorius analyzed data from nearly 4,000 women who were past their child-bearing years and had been interviewed more than 20 times over 27 years as part of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.

The analysis revealed that 28 percent of the women with two or more children had children by different fathers. The rate was highest among black mothers (59 percent), followed by Hispanic mothers (35 percent) and white mothers (22 percent).

Factors that increased the likelihood that a woman would have children by different fathers included if they weren't living with a man when they gave birth, and if they had low income and less education.

Dorius said she was surprised to find that women having children with different fathers is quite common at all levels of income and education, and is frequently associated with marriage and divorce rather than just single parenthood.

"We tend to think of women with multiple partner fertility as being only poor single women with little education and money, but in fact at some point, most were married, and working, and going to school, and doing all the things you're supposed to do to live the American dream," she said in a university news release.

The study was to be presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, in Washington, D.C.

Because this study was presented at a meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics discusses the myth of the perfect family.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, April 1, 2011

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