Couples who live together are less likely to eventually marry than ever before, a new study has suggested.
Researchers from Bowling Green State University in Ohio compared the stability of cohabiting couples’ relationships in the early 1980s to those today. They used data from 707 women who cohabited in the 1980s, 772 women who did so in the early 2000s, and the National Survey of Family Growth, which gathers information on various aspects of family life.
Their study found that couples who live together now do so for longer than their counterparts in the 1980s. This could be a result of “the declining rate of transitioning to marriage”. Researchers found that modern cohabitants are half as likely to marry as those in the 1980s were.
Additionally, cohabitants are 20 per cent more likely to separate. The data showed that half of all modern cohabitations dissolve within the first two years.
During a radio appearance to discuss the study, author Dr Wendy Manning said “there has been a doubling in the proportion of adults who have cohabited” over the last 25 years.
She added that the United States had reached “a historic high point” in the age people marry for the first time. On average it is 27 years old for women and 29 for men.