McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Community News Network

April 4, 2013

Unmarried couples living together is new norm, U.S. study says

Three of four women in the United States have lived with a partner without being married by age 30, an increasing trend that suggests cohabitation is now a regular part of family life, researchers said.

The survey of 12,279 women ages 15 through 44 also found that 40 percent of unmarried partners transitioned to marriage within 3 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. A third of the arrangements stayed intact without marriage, while 27 percent dissolved, the study found.

More people are putting off marriage either because they can't afford it or because it's financially risky, said Gail Wyatt, director of the University of California Los Angeles's sexual health program. About 48 percent of the women surveyed lived with a partner as a first union, compared with 34 percent in 1995. Others may view cohabitation as a way of test- driving a relationship to see if a marriage will work.

"Marriage is for people who have money and want to spend money just on the wedding itself," Wyatt said in a telephone interview. She wasn't involved in the study. "Some people would rather buy a house, or just pay the rent." People who are poor or less educated may shy away from marriage and its legal complications, she said.

A couple that shares an address counts as a "first union," as does a first marriage, according to the report. Only 23 percent of first unions were marriages in the study period, compared to 39 percent in 1995.

"Cohabitation is a common part of family formation in the United States, and serves both as a step toward marriage and as an alternative to marriage," the report said.

The Atlanta-based CDC's report used interviews starting in 2006 and ending in 2010. About 70 percent of women without high school diplomas lived with a partner as their first union, compared to 47 percent of those with a bachelor's degree, the report found. Women with less than a high school diploma were less likely to marry within 3 years, compared to peers with more education.

Pregnancy is common in common-law arrangements. About 20 percent of women became pregnant in the first year of living with a partner, and went on to give birth. The probability for marriage for these women within six months was about 19 percent, lower than in 1995.

Women without a high school diploma were more likely to become pregnant, with a third of them reporting pregnancy in the first year of living together with a partner. Only 5 percent of women with a bachelor's degree became pregnant in the same time span. Those women who got pregnant were less likely to be married.

"People, especially women, make a distinction between childbearing and marriage," said Carole Joffe, a professor of sociology at the University of San Francisco's Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, in a telephone interview. "You can get the benefits of marriage without being married, but you have to have a child to have the benefits of a child."

 The study's takeaway is that there are more statuses than married and unmarried, Joffe said. Some people are truly single, others are cohabitating, and some are married. The question is how best to support these different kinds of families, she said.

The percentage of first unions that were cohabitations rather than marriages increased 57 percent for Hispanic women, 43 percent for white women, and 39 percent for black women in 2006 through 2010, compared to a similar survey from 1995. Only Asian women weren't more likely to cohabitate before marriage.

"We have to prepare girls not to look for white dresses as the end-all, but to look at their financial opportunities and their careers," said Wyatt. "The same is true for boys."

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.