Polygamy is rare throughout most of the world. In the U.S., having spouse like relationships with more than one person under the same roof was criminalized in 1882. Today, people in the U.S. are rarely prosecuted for living with multiple romantic partners, but every state has laws against getting married while already being married to someone else.

Only about 2% of the global population lives in polygamous households, and in the vast majority of countries, that share is under 0.5%. Polygamy is banned throughout much of the world, and the United Nations Human Rights Committee


Polygamy is most often found in sub-Saharan Africa, where 11% of the population lives in arrangements that include more than one spouse.

Polygamy sometimes was practiced by certain Christian sects, including by members of the Mormon Church  in the U.S. until the late 1800s. Some Mormon splinter groups still practice polygamy.


Religion often plays a role in how polygamy is governed and practiced within a single country.

One-in-five U.S. adults believe that polygamy is morally acceptable . This share has almost tripled (from 7%) since the question was first asked in 2003,   Muslims around the world are divided about polygamy: While majorities in several sub-Saharan African countries and pluralities in parts of the Middle East describe polygamy as morally acceptable, Muslims living in Central Asia as well as Southern and Eastern Europe tend to say that polygamy is immoral.

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