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Polygamy in France

Polygamy is illegal in France, as of 1993, and has been the center of recent political debates due to surges of Malian immigrants living polygamously in the country. Due to such, stricter laws have been enforced to stomp out polygamy.[1]

The Economist estimates that in France 200,000 people live in 16,000 to 20,000 polygamous families, almost all of them Muslims of North or central African heritage.[2] French polygamists rely on government single parent payments and state housing benefits to support the multiple wives to whom they are married under Muslim, but not under French law.[2]


As of 2009, polygamy is legal in the French island territory of Mayotte. However, this will soon change. On March 29, 2009, 95% of Mayotte citizens voted to become the 101st department of France. Due to such, the island is being forced to bar all forms of polygamous unions and other forms of practices that "contradict with French culture", including child marriages.[3] The island is required to disallow recognizing polygamy by 2011, when the vote becomes effective. At the present time, polygamous marriages are presumed to have been stopped being issued by the government.


  1. France's Polygamy Problem
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Many Wives' tales," The Economist, May 8–14, 2010, p. 55
  3. French island of Mayotte votes to change in status