2 Cohabitation Let’s begin with a definition of cohabitation: Cohabitation: The sharing of a household by unmarried individuals who have a sexual relationshipGenerally there are two types of cohabitation1) Both partners plan to marry each other in the near future.2) Cohabitation as alternative to marriage.
3 Cohabitation The Census Bureau refers to cohabitors as: Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters orPOSSLQs
4 Number of Unmarried Couples who are Cohabiting McGraw-Hill CollegeSource: Bumpass & Sweet, 1989.8-2
5 In 2007:6.4 million opposite-sex unmarried couples are living togetherFour out of 10, or approximately 2.5 million opposite-sex unmarried couples, lived with at least one biological child of either partner
6 Currently Cohabiting vs. Ever Cohabited Approximately 10 percent of women and 12 percent of men are currently cohabiting (Casper & Bianchi)This is the measure of cohabiting at a given point in time (a snapshot)A larger proportion of people have ever cohabitedMore than 67 percent of marriages today are preceded by cohabitation(Source: Kennsdy & Bumpass, 2007)How can the current cohabitation rates be different by sex?
7 Cohabitation In 2000, Census Bureau estimates of cohabitation About 11 million people (5.5 million couples) living with an unmarried partner in the U.S.Of these:9.7 million are unmarried different-sex partners and1.2 million are unmarried same-sex partnersSource: U.S. Bureau of the Census
9 Survey of high school seniors shows In 1976:Only 40% of high school seniors endorsed cohabitation before marriageIn 2006:64% of high school seniors endorse cohabitation prior to marriageSource:
10 CohabitationWhat are some of the reasons for the rise in cohabitation?1) FeminismIncrease in female educationIncreased employment opportunities for womenCareer goals changed, more jobs opening to women.Women’s increasing participation in the paid workforce means less economic need to depend on a man in marriage.
11 CohabitationIn sum:Because women have the potential for greater independence, they may be less willing to commit to a relationship, until they “try it out”
12 CohabitationWhat are some of the reasons for the rise in cohabitation?2) Sexual RevolutionDevelopment of better contraceptive technologiesIn other words, people could plan when to have childrenThis was a very revolutionary conceptMore sexual permissiveness and along with that -- pre-marital sex has become more readily acceptedSource: Bailey, B. in Skolnick & Skolnick text
13 CohabitationWhat are some of the reasons for the rise in cohabitation?3) Major cultural shifts have occurred in U.S., thus our society in general has become less religious less bound by social conformity more individual autonomy and greater freedom of choicePeople no longer do things just because “that’s the way it’s done”
14 CohabitationCouples who cohabit prior to marriage have a higher divorce rate than couples who did not cohabitThis is the result of a selection effect, people who cohabit may be less traditional and more likely to divorce in generalThus, cohabiting does NOT CAUSE divorce
15 Selection Effect then marries dates then marries dates then cohabits More traditional couplethen marriesdatesLess traditional couplethen marriesdatesthen cohabits
16 Selection EffectThink about how a more traditional couple might differ in their views of marriage or divorce compared to a less traditional couple?In other words -- besides the fact that they cohabit or not – what differentiates these types of couples?
17 CohabitationThere are three different ways to conceive of cohabitation:An alternative, but more intimate form of single lifeA stage in the process of becoming marriedA distinct arrangement unlike being single or married
18 CohabitationAmong what group of people in the U.S. did cohabitation first start?Cohabitation began in the lower classes then moved to middle classesMore advantageous for minorities and poorer whites with low economic statusMale income and employment is lower
19 CohabitationMale economic status is still an important determinant of ability to marry and why women want to marry himThus, marriage will be less likely if the male or couple is poor
20 Cohabitation6 possible social barriers to marriage among disadvantaged Americans:1) marital aspirations and expectations2) norms about childbearing3) financial standards for marriage4) quality of their relationships5) aversion to divorce6) children by other partnersSource: Edin & Reed, 2005
21 CohabitationCohabitation has been more common among the poor because many social programs cut off benefits for people (particularly women) who marry –Social SecurityAlimonyWelfareNew Welfare reform laws have changed this – you no longer immediately lose benefits if you marry
22 CohabitationCohabiting couples have higher break up rates than married couplesAbout ½ of cohabiting couples either break-up or marry within 1 year.9 in 10 cohabiting couples marry within 5 years.
23 Cohabitation and children Another big change associated with cohabitation is the increase in the cohabiting households “with children present”In 2007, 4 out of 10 opposite sex cohabiting partners had children from one or both partners40% of births outside marriage to cohabitating couples
24 Characteristics of Cohabitating Couples Cohabiting couples are less traditional than married couples:For example, cohabiting couples are more likely to:have an older woman/younger man than married couples (Go Cougars!)have a woman who earns more money than man than married couplesbe interracial
25 Research by Yabiku & Gager Cohabitors have higher rates of sexual frequencyand are more likely break up if frequency is low (compared to married couples)Why?Married couples may expect lower sexual frequencyMarried couples share more assets, (houses) and are more likely to live with children related to BOTH parents (compared with cohabiting couples)
26 Research by Yabiku & Gager In sum:cohabitors who report low sexual frequency are more likely to break up than married couples who report low sexual frequencyagain, cohabitors are less traditional than married couples