By John Clark
More young women are living with romantic partners before marriage than those who are living alone or with a spouse, according to a recent report on marriage statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The figures, which were gathered during the CDC’s National Survey of Family Growth, were compiled through interviews with more than 12,000 women between 15 and 44, according to an MSNBC report.
According to the survey, 48 percent of American women are currently living with a partner who is not a spouse, which is a significant jump from the 35 percent of women who cohabitated in 1995.
In addition, couples are now less enthusiastic about waiting until marriage to move in with their spouse. In recent years, only 23 percent of women say they were married before living under the same roof with their spouse. This figure was as high as 39 percent as recently as 1995.
Interestingly, though, the relative percentage of women who were living alone was pretty consistent over the past 20 years, ranging from 27 to 29 percent every year.
Sources also note that cohabitation varied by education. A remarkable 70 percent of women who did not have a high school degree were living with a boyfriend, which was the largest percentage by a wide margin.
Older women are also more likely to have tried cohabiting with a romantic partner. Sources say 74 percent of women older than 30 had cohabitated, while only 55 percent of women had lived with a boyfriend before turning 25.
Moreover, women living with non-spouses are more likely to get pregnant, which may have helped raise the number child custody disputes. In 1995, only 15 percent of unmarried couples living together became pregnant, while that number rose to 19 percent in recent years.
And the effects of pregnancies have led to fewer marriages in modern relationships. In 1995, 32 percent of unwed pregnancies led to marriage, while only 19 percent of such pregnancies led to marriage in 2010.
The numbers support anecdotal findings about the shifting nature of modern relationships. As the cost of living continues to rise, and the economy sputters along, many partners find that living together simply makes more economic sense.
And as more Americans continue to delay the age at which they get married (sources say the average age of brides and grooms is at a historic high), they will likely continue to live with romantic partners before marriage at an increasing rate.