In cultures which practice polygamy, its prevalence among that population is often connected to class and socioeconomic status.From a legal point of view, in many countries, although marriage is legally monogamous (a person can only have one spouse, and bigamy is illegal), adultery is not illegal, leading to a situation of de facto polygamy being allowed, although without legal recognition for non-official "spouses".Polygyny is legally accepted in many Muslim majority countries and some countries with a sizeable Muslim minority; it is also accepted in some secular countries in varying degrees.
If a marriage includes multiple husbands and wives, it can be called a group marriage.
In contrast, monogamy is marriage consisting of only two parties.
Like "monogamy", the term "polygamy" is often used in a de facto sense, applied regardless of whether the state recognises the relationship.
Senior wives can benefit as well when their work load is lightened by the addition of junior wives to the family.
Wives', especially senior wives', status in the community can be increased by the addition of other wives, who add to the family's prosperity or are a sign of conspicuous consumption (much like a large house, domestic help, or expensive vacations would be in a western country).