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Living Together Before Marriage

by Ray Fowler

Here are some statistics on living together before marriage from Michael McManus, the president of Marriage Savers. Statistically speaking, living together is not a trial of marriage, but rather a training for divorce.

  • The number of unmarried couples living together soared 12-fold from 430,000 in 1960 to 5.4 million in 2005.
  • More than eight out of ten couples who live together will break up either before the wedding or afterwards in divorce.
  • About 45 percent of those who begin cohabiting, do not marry. Another 5-10 percent continue living together and do not marry.
  • Couples who do marry after living together are 50% more likely to divorce than those who did not.
  • Only 12 percent of couples who have begun their relationship with cohabitation end up with a marriage lasting 10 years or more.
  • A Penn State study reports that even a month’s cohabitation decreases the quality of the couple’s relationship.

Here are some more statistics relating to the children of cohabiting parents.

  • Children of cohabiting parents are ten times more likely to be sexually abused by a stepparent than by a parent.
  • Children of cohabiting parents are three times as likely to be expelled from school or to get pregnant as teenagers than children from an intact home with married parents.
  • Children of cohabiting parents are five times more apt to live in poverty, and 22 times more likely to incarcerated.