Do you ever wonder how many people identify as polyamorous, and how those polyamory statistics compare with other stats around the world?
While statistics are sometimes tricky to nail down and don’t always reflect the whole story, they at least offer a window into the subject at hand.
Here, we take a look at some polyamory statistics, at home and around the world.
How Common Is Polyamory?
The widely cited polyamory statistic for the USA is that 4 to 5% of Americans are polyamorous.
This has been reported by Rolling Stone magazine and beyond.
The YouGov survey of Americans in both 2020 and 2016 found that around a third preferred some form of non-monogamy for their relationships.
The Kinsey Institute reported in 2022 that almost 11% of Americans have been in polyamorous relationships and nearly 17% are interested in polyamorous relationships.
Another study published on Public Health Post in polyamory statistics surveyed a demographically representative sample of 3,438 American singles and found that 1 in 9 people had been involved in polyamorous relationships and 1 in 6 were interested in engaging in polyamory.
A 2016 study in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy determined that 20% of American singles had been in polyamorous relationships at some point in their lives.
Polyamory Statistics in Canada
In 2017, a study with The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family found that more than 65% of respondents were in polyamorous relationships! About 65% of those people described a relationship with three, or a throuple.
Is it really true that two thirds of Canadians are polyamorous?!?
While such a survey definitely points to social changes and opening attitudes to consensual non-monogamy, one problem with surveys is that those who do respond are naturally motivated to share their story.
Monogamous people may have had no interest in doing the survey. It is very difficult to get diverse and random respondents that represent a cross section of society.
The prestigious peer reviewed Journal of Sex Research studied 2000 Canadians and found that 4% were in polyamorous relationships.
About 20% said they had been in a polyamorous relationship at some point in their lives. And approximately 12% said that polyamory was their ideal relationship style.
Where Is Polyamory Most Common?
It appears that polyamory as we define it (consensual non-monogamy with all partners able to seek multiple sexual and romantic relationships) is most common in the United States, with other western countries following suit as education, modernization, sexual liberation, and equality for women and sexual minorities is realized.
A YouGov poll from Britain in 2019 found that 7% of respondents had been in polyamorous relationships in their lifetime. The same poll in 2015 had only 2% with this response, suggesting a rapid social change in just a few years.
Polyamory is not a major social movement in Japan, but perhaps that is because most Japanese view marital infidelity favorably. Marriage is viewed as a contract of roles for social status and child raising, and seeking sexual partners outside the marriage discreetly is generally acceptable to many. About 20% of Japanese respondents admitted taking other lovers than their spouse in a Pew Research survey. 84% of women and 61% of men described infidelity as beneficial to their marriage!
Polyamory statistics are hard to find, but many sources point to a very open attitude in Mexico. A survey 20 years ago had 64% of respondents expressing the belief that humans are naturally monogamous. Half of men and women expressed that it is possible to love more than one person at a time.
Polls show that nearly half of people in Spain approve of polyamory.
Is Polyamory Becoming More Common?
We need serious and large scale randomized demographic studies with detailed questions about practice and beliefs to create reliable polyamory statistics.
However, from the few studies we do have and the many informal or anecdotal reports and surveys, it is clear that polyamory statistics are moving upwards and polyamory is becoming more common.
We can also see this upward trend in poly stats in the growing number of advocacy groups, in expanding professionals like doctors, lawyers and therapists speaking up for equality for polyamorous relationships, and by people’s reports in media stories and online chats. The proliferation of polyamory meetups and social groups around the world show this trend.
Why Isn’t Polyamory More Common?
Although there are countless ways of organizing societies and families and non-monogamous arrangements have been common throughout history and throughout cultures, monogamy is still a very strong social preference through multiple cultures.
A huge factor here is the influence of monotheistic religions like Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
But moral imposition of religion was only one factor. Another was the practicality and assurance monogamy gave men about their progeny and supporting them.
Monogamy was often seen as ideal from the male perspective of keeping his property pure, but also about protecting women by assuring them the labor of their husband.
It’s complicated. But societies are organized around families and while there are many kinds of arrangements for families traditionally, a major style of arrangement was monogamy.
It’s no surprise that as societies become less religious, polyamory statistics rise. With the invention of birth control and other social movements towards women’s sexual liberation, traditional expressions of sexuality and family arrangement are changing rapidly.
And as the acceptance of sexual minorities and gender roles shift, people of all orientations and genders are being included in relationships and marriages.
Are you meeting more poly people? Are you surprised by any of these poly stats?