[Question] Are there high-quality surveys available detailing the rates of polyamory among Americans age 18-45 in metropolitan areas in the United States?

In recent years, there has been more public attention paid to seemingly increasing rates of less common identity characteristics or alternative lifestyle choices. This has provoked widespread media speculation that the trends in question are social contagions being spread by the communities or subcultures where such trends are most apparent. Examples of such trends include dramatically increased rates of reported self-identification with sexual or gender minority status; various kinds of neurodivergence, and polyamory/​non-monogamy. Without denying the possibility that ‘social contagion’ may be a minor causal factor among many for increased rates of self-identification with the above characteristics, there are of course better explanations. Yet the narrative that these trends are becoming more prominent mostly as a consequence of social pathology persists. This specious presumption could be significantly mitigated by evaluating general causes, which in turn might be identified through knowing more about the base rates, and increase in the rate of change, for these personal/​social characteristics among the general population.

Of course, on LessWrong, this will bring to mind how higher rates of polyamory among the rationality community, and related communities like effective altruism, are exploited to stigmatize them by various hostile parties. Yet I’ve noticed this is an even greater issue faced by larger social classes among younger generations. While public discourse has also provoked some defence of various subcultures embracing polyamory, I’ve noticed almost nobody on any side of the conversation bothers evaluating whether there’s a general increase in rates of non-monogamy uncorrelated with increased rates of membership in alternative subcultures. To have such information would be useful for answering many unresolved questions about the status of non-monogamy in society at large.

I request data on a population sample with the particular characteristics mentioned in the title because those are the common characteristics of the non-monogamous people generally subject to so much public speculation. I’m not super well-versed in the finer details for what counts as a “higher-quality” survey, so I welcome you to make that judgment for yourself. Suggestions for other online spaces where I could ask this question which may have more insight are also welcome.

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