Paternity Fraud Statistics

Paternity fraud has a checkered history and is one of the most controversial social topics till date. Marriages have ended, relationships broken, and other social ties strained after a paternity fraud incident. 

Low estimates of global paternity fraud stand around 1% while high estimates suggests up to 30% paternity fraud globally. Estimates for misattributed paternity are much lower at around 0.02% to 3% from several sources. 

In some circles, paternity fraud and misattributed paternity are regarded as the same thing. But paternity fraud is a deliberate, deceitful attempt to secure a child’s paternity while misattributed paternity is usually accidental. 

Statistics on paternity fraud are different across countries and it might be difficult to get representative numbers in some areas. 

However, this post compiles ten (10) paternity fraud statistics you should know about. Vital figures in this article make it easy to get a better scope of paternity fraud across different countries. 

1. About 2 in 50 British fathers are unknowingly raising someone else’s child

The Telegraph

In a 2016 research, findings indicate that at least 1 in 50 fathers in Britain are not raising their own child. The study claims that these fathers are raising other men’s children due to paternity fraud.

Information in this research also shows that misattributed paternity isn’t as common as widely believed. Cases of misattributed paternity are believed to be much lower than those involving paternity fraud. 

2. The median rate of paternity fraud worldwide is 3.7%

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 

A 2005 published review studied the discrepancies between paternity fraud figures across a global scale. Findings from the review showed that global paternity fraud percentages are within 0.8 – 30% with a median rate of 3.7%. 

Even if numbers from these studies are old, numerous references to its scope and accuracy make it a valid statistic. Incidence rates have changed much since the numbers were compiled; however they still serve as a major reference point. 

3. A court in South Korean man got compensated with $42,380 for being a victim of paternity fraud

CBS News, Wikipedia

A South Korean man (named Mr. Doe for privacy protection purposes) was awarded compensation for pain and suffering due to paternity fraud. The court pegged Mr. Doe’s settlement at $42,380 and ordered Mrs. Doe (accused) to remit the said sum. 

The judgment was reached after a DNA test had established Mrs. Doe’s infidelity and subsequent paternity fraud.  

At the time this ruling was reached (in 2004), few cases of paternity fraud were settled favorably for South Korean complainants. 

4. Paternity fraud isn’t a criminal offense in the UK (Unless done against people under the King’s lineage or Treason Act 1351)


Currently, the UK doesn’t have any explicit legislation against people who commit paternity fraud. However, anyone under the lineage of the King or covered by Treason Act 1351 is protected against paternity fraud. 

Naming someone else’s child as belonging to an individual of royal descent is a crime. Other acts of paternity fraud and misattributed paternity against the royal bloodline are also criminal offenses in Britain.

5. Extensive paternity fraud researches were conducted between the 1980s and 2000s

NCBI, Wikipedia

The mid-1980s through to 1980s saw several researches and studies focused on paternity fraud.  These studies focused on a massive scope and looked to cover previously understudied areas. 

Studies during this period relied on a combination of results gotten from genetic testing and DNA fingerprinting. 

6. 1 in 500 British fathers were misidentified prior to DNA testing

The Guardian

About 0.2% of 500 fathers in the UK have been victims of misattributed paternity. A series of government-approved DNA tests shows that about one out of half-a-thousand dads are raising someone else’s child accidentally. 

The data corroborates information from other studies that refutes the previously held belief of widespread paternity fraud.  

7. A 1990s study ranges paternity fraud in Mexico at 11.8%

Research Gate

A 1999 study involving hundreds of couples and their offspring in Mexico revealed an 11.8% paternity fraud rate. 

The incidence rate of paternity fraud in Mexico was among the highest recorded figures for several decades. However, the study’s limited scope may not make it an ideal option for general reference on Mexican paternity fraud. 

8. UK’s Child Support Agency has paid over 3000 wrongly accused fathers since the mid-2000s

The Guardian

More than 3000 victims of paternity fraud have received refunds from the Child Support Agency after successful court rulings. Thousands of pounds in maintenance payments have gone to affected men in less than a decade. 

9. The prevalence rate of paternity fraud in disputes is 26.9%


In cases where the paternity of children was disputed, recent studies show higher levels of fraud and misattributed paternity. The mean incidence rate of actual paternity fraud was as high as 26.9% in some studies. 

10. A $70,000 paternity fraud compensation was overturned in Australia for unproven “intent to deceive”

An Australian man was awarded a AUD$70,000 settlement for paternity fraud in 2002. 

The compensation was overturned in 2005 because the complainant couldn’t prove his ex-wife’s intent to deceive. And in 2006, the man had to pay legal fees of the Child Support Agency for 18 months after losing two appeals.