Parents of Twins, Triplets: “More Likely to Divorce”

Couples with twins or triplets are more likely to divorce, “with financial stress playing a major role in break-ups,” according to a study by Birmingham University’s School of Social Policy.

Research showed 28 percent of the parents of twins or triplets divorced, compared with 24 percent of other families. The study, “The Effects of Twins and Multiple Births Families and Their Living Standards,” showed that financial pressures are among the most common reasons for the breakdown of families. The report, supported by the Twin and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA), concludes that families with multiple births reported a drop in the income following the births of the children.

These families were twice as likely as families of “singletons” to report “quite difficult” financial stress and were also more likely to be in arrears on bill payments and to have exhausted savings. Twins and triplets experience higher levels of material deprivation as parents struggled to pay for “key child-related items,” including holidays, school uniforms, birthday parties and leisure equipment.

Steve McKay, Birmingham professor of social research, said that “twins and triplets are more likely to be born to married and older couples, who are in paid employment. These factors should provide some degree of ‘protection’ against low income and deprivation, so it is deeply concerning that twins and triplets are experiencing greater levels of material deprivation than singletons and that families are at greater risk of separation and divorce.

The study analyzes government statistics. It concludes that 62 percent of the multiple birth families were worse off financially after the babies, compared with 40 percent of other families.

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