Raising children is never easy. However, there are some factors that can make the process significantly more stressful for new parents. According to a recent study, parents who give birth to twins are slightly more likely to divorce than parents who give birth to a single baby.

The study concluded that the difference was small, amounting to an increased divorce rate of only one percent. Although researchers couldn’t pinpoint an exact cause for the difference, they noted that the potential emotional and financial stress of suddenly having two babies instead of one might be to blame.

The researchers used data from the 1980 census and studied the current marital status of more than 800,000 families in Georgia and other states.

Between three and four percent of births in the U.S. are twins, and the rates are expected to increase due to advancements in fertility drugs. An increase in the percentage of twins being born could subsequently lead to more divorces. The study specifically focused on data collected before 1980, so it would not be impacted by new fertility treatments.

Approximately 14 percent of families who had twins eventually divorced, while 13 percent of those without twins divorced. The study also focused only on parents whose first-borns were twins. There was no correlation for parents whose twins were not the oldest children.

The study also indicated that having twins had a bigger impact on the divorce rates in families that went on to have several more kids, especially in families that had financial struggles. Divorce appeared to be more likely when one or more of the twins were girls, while families with boy-boy twins were somehow more likely to stay together.

Source: Reuters, “Parents of twins slightly more likely to divorce,” Genevra Pittman, 31 March 2011