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The Role of Cohabitation in Declining Rates of Marriage
Larry L. Bumpass, James A. Sweet and Andrew Cherlin
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Nov., 1991), pp. 913-927
Published by: National Council on Family Relations
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352997
Page Count: 15
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Cohabitation, Children, Single status, Age, Marriage, Demography, Separated status, Parents, Marriage rates, Remarriage
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Sharp declines in both first marriage rates and rates of remarriage have been largely offset by increasing cohabitation. The increase in the proportion of unmarried young people should not be interpreted as an increase in "singlehood" as traditionally regarded: young people are setting up housekeeping with partners of the opposite sex at almost as early an age as they did before marriage rates declined. The characteristics of cohabiting couples are documented here, including the role of the least educated in leading this trend, and the presence of children with 40% of the couples. While most cohabitors expect to marry their partner, there is a substantial proportion who disagree about marriage, and a high proportion are concerned about the stability of their relationship. Thus the picture that is emerging is that cohabitation is very much a family status, but one in which levels of certainty about the relationship are lower than in marriage.
Journal of Marriage and Family © 1991 National Council on Family Relations