Title

Prelude to Marriage or Alternative to Marriage? A Social Demographic Look at Cohabitation in the U.S.

Authors

Renata Forste

Keywords

Cohabitation, college students, education levels

Abstract

Cohabitation's popularity in the U.S. as a living arrangement began to emerge during the 1960s and 1970s (U.S. Department of Commerce, 1988). Initially a deviant behavior, it was still uncommon during the early 1970s; for example in 1968 the case of a single cohabiting college student was considered significant news (Rindfuss & Stephen, 1990). In contrast, today cohabitation has become a generally common lifecourse experience, particularly among young people (Wilhelm, 1998). Census estimates indicate that in 1977 there were 1.1 million cohabiting couples, about 1.5% of all households in the U.S. twenty years later in 1997, the number of cohabiting households had grown to 4.9 million or 4.8% of all households. Demographic studies indicate that this increase in cohabitation has occurred across all education levels and race and ethnic groups (Bumpass and Lu, 2000). Cohabitation is now found in almost all segments of American society (Rindfuss and VandenHeuvel, 1990)

Original Publication Citation

Forste, Renata. 2002. “Prelude to Marriage or Alternative to Marriage? A Social Demographic Look at Cohabitation in the U.S.” Journal of Law and Family Studies, 4(1)91-104

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2002

Publisher

Journal of Law & Family Studies

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Sociology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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