To Cohabitate Or Not To Cohabitate

Posted by Amanda M. Fairbanks

200810224_madmen_560x375There's no secret way to happiness and the marriage gamble is not without great risk: One in five marriages will dissolve within five years. One in three lasts fewer than 10.

The New York Times
reports that couples cohabitating before marriage are less likely (by up to six percentage points) to stay married. But supposedly the likelihood of staying together actually increases if the couple was already engaged prior to moving in.

The study (full PDF here) was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics and inclues women and men, ages 15 to 55, who defined cohabitation as people partnered with members of the opposite sex.

Now you might be asking, whatever does this have to do with education?

Well, it turns out that if both partners have graduated from college, the chances improve that they will not only marry but that it will last for at least a decade.

"Cohabitation is still a pathway to marriage for many college graduates, while it may be an end in itself for many less educated women," said professor of policy analysis, Kelly Musick.

The story went on to note that the perception of whether or not to live together was often a generational thing: "From the perspective of many young adults, marrying without living together first seems quite foolish. Just because some academic studies have shown that living together may increase the chance of divorce somewhat, young adults themselves don't believe that."

What's your living arrangement and do you think that it does or does not increase your chance at long-term togetherness?

Photo via AMC's "Mad Men."