Americans are increasingly saying “I do” to living together before marriage, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, cohabitation is now more common among younger women than living with a spouse or living alone.
Among the women, 48 percent told interviewers that they were living with their significant other but were not married to them. In 1995, only 35 percent of women were cohabiting with their partners, according to a previous edition of the survey.
Couples aren’t only cohabiting more often than in the past, they’re doing it much longer, the study found. The women in the most recent survey averaged 22 months for their first stint at living together (after which they either got married or broke up). Back in 1995, the average length of cohabitation was 13 months, the researchers reported.
For 40 percent of the women surveyed between 2006 and 2010, these live-in relationships led to marriages, according to the study. But not everyone made it to the altar within three years of moving in together -- 32 percent of couples were still cohabiting, and 27 percent of couples split up.
Women living with their significant others are also more likely to get pregnant now than in years past, the researchers found. Back in 1995, only 15 percent of unmarried, cohabiting couples got pregnant; between 2006 and 2010, that figure was 19 percent. Among women who moved in with a significant other before they turned 20, 25 percent became pregnant before they got married.
Overall, getting pregnant was less likely to lead to marriage than in years past. Between 2006 and 2010, 19 percent of pregnancies prompted couples to get married. In 1995, 32 percent of pregnancies led to marriages, the researchers reported.