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A survey conducted in 1990 found 2.2% of married participants reported having more than one partner during the past year.

For example, one study conducted by the University of Washington, Seattle found slightly, or significantly higher rates of infidelity for populations under 35, or older than 60.

In that study which involved 19,065 people during a 15-year period, rates of infidelity among men were found to have risen from 20 to 28%, and rates for women, 5% to 15%.

Frequencies as high as 30% are sometimes assumed in the media, but research Such studies show that covert illegitimacy is in fact less than 10% among the sampled African populations, less than 5% among the sampled Native American and Polynesian populations, less than 2% of the sampled Middle Eastern population, and generally 1–2% among European samples.

Strategic pluralism is a theory that focuses on how environmental factors influence mating strategies.

The form and extent of these consequences are often dependent on the gender of the unfaithful person.

One measure of infidelity among couples is the frequency of children secretly conceived with a different partner, leading to "non-paternities".

Such covertly illegitimate children amount to about 1–2% of newborns in European populations.