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Many young adults cohabit before marriage

Posted by on in Cohabitation
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A recent study by researchers at Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research has found that a majority (61%) of young adults have formed a family by age 25.

 

Researchers found over a quarter of young adults married prior to their 25th birthday. Over a third of them followed a direct or “traditional” pathway into marriage, meaning they did not live with their partner or have a child before getting married. Men were more likely than women to follow this “traditional” pathway. 

 

Young adults with at least a bachelor’s degree were most likely to follow a “traditional” marriage path at 55%, while those with a GED or without a high school diploma were more likely to cohabit or have a child before marriage.

 

Researchers found the most common family formation experience was cohabitation, but with considerable variation. Thirty-seven percent of young adults with cohabitation experience have only lived with their significant other. One-half have cohabited and had a child, 36% have lived together and married, and nearly a quarter have experienced parenthood, marriage and cohabitation. Of those who cohabited and had a child, the majority first lived together, then became parents.

 

It turns out living together is a strong pathway to marriage. Among young adults who got married, over three-fifths cohabited before tying the knot. Women are also more likely than men to live with someone before marriage (63% versus 57%).

 

The research found one-third of young adults have had a child and over one in three of them did so before cohabitation or marriage. One in seven young adults who had a child went from cohabitation to marriage and then parenthood by age 25.

 

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