More People Than Ever Living Together Before Marriage

Nearly half of women move in with a partner before marriage.


Nearly half of women move in with a partner before marriage now.

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About a quarter of women move in with a romantic partner before the age of 20, and more women than ever live with a partner before they get married, according to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Nearly half of women (48 percent) between the ages of 15 and 44 lived with a partner before getting married between the years of 2006 and 2010, an 11 percent jump since 2002 and a 41 percent jump since 1995. Less than a quarter of so-called "first unions"—meaning a first marriage or first cohabitation—were marriages during that span. In 2002, 30 percent of "first unions" were marriages.

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According to the report, 1-in-5 women became pregnant during their first year of premarital cohabitation, 40 percent of first marital cohabitations transitioned to marriage within three years, and 27 percent dissolved within five years.

People are also prolonging marriage for longer after moving in together, according to the report. In 1995, the average length of a cohabitation that transitioned into marriage was 14 months—between 2006 and 2010, it was 21 months.

The report followed more than 22,000 women and men between the ages of 15 and 44, but the report focused primarily on the women respondents, because it sought to glean information about pregnancies associated with cohabitation.

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