Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Unmarried Couples Living Together

Among adults ages 30 to 44, 7% lived with an opposite-sex partner as an unmarried couple in 2009. While the share of 30- to 44-year-olds living as unmarried couples remains low, it has more than doubled since the mid-1990s. Furthermore, among women ages 19 to 44, 58% had ever lived with an opposite-sex unmarried partner in 2006-2008, up from 33% among a comparable group in 1987. Adults with less education are more likely to live as unmarried couples. In 2009, 8% of adults 30-44 without a college education cohabitated compared with just 4% of those in this age group with a college degree. Cohabitation plays a different role in the lives of adults with and without college degrees. For the most educated, living as an unmarried couple typically is an economically productive way to combine two incomes and is a step toward marriage and childbearing. For adults without college degrees, cohabitation is more likely to be a parallel household arrangement to marriage — complete with children — but at a lower economic level than married adults enjoy. Read More