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Given the secretive nature of infidelity, exact figures about cheating and extra-marital affairs are nearly impossible to establish. But, listed below are some of the most well-supported facts about cheating. All cited sources can be found on our reference page.
It is estimated that roughly 30 to 60% of all married individuals (in the United States) will engage in infidelity at some point during their marriage (see, Buss and Shackelford for review of this research). And these numbers are probably on the conservative side, when you consider that close to half of all marriages end in divorce (people are more likely to stray as relationships fall apart; also see, who is likely to cheat).
Research consistently shows that 2 to 3% of all children are the product of infidelity (see, Anderson). And most of these children are unknowingly raised by men who are not their biological fathers. DNA testing is finally making it easy for people to check the paternity of their children (see, paternity issues).
Infidelity is becoming more common among people under 30. Many experts believe this increase in cheating is due to greater opportunity (time spent away from a spouse) and young people developing the habit of having multiple sexual partners before they get married (see, young and restless – Wall Street Journal).