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Shacking up: Cohabitation in the 1970s

Richard R. Clayton and Harwin L. Voss
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 39, No. 2 (May, 1977), pp. 273-283
DOI: 10.2307/351123
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351123
Page Count: 11
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Shacking up: Cohabitation in the 1970s
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Abstract

The current and lifetime prevalence of heterosexual cohabitation, as well as some correlates of cohabitation, are examined on the basis of data obtained from a nation-wide random sample of 2,510 young men. Eighteen percent of the respondents had lived with a woman for six months or more outside the bonds of matrimony, but at the time of the interviews, only 5 percent of the men were cohabiting. While some differences were observed according to age, size of city of residence to age 18, and social class, there was a sizable ethnic difference: 29 percent of the blacks and 16 percent of the whites had cohabited for at least a six month period. It would appear that neither cohabitation nor marriage has reached a peak in terms of prevalence among the young men born in the years 1944 through 1954. For some young men, cohabitation apparently served as a prelude to marriage. The data suggest that for other men, especially those who had experienced marital disruption, cohabitation served as a temporary or permanent alternative to matrimony.

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