Living Together No Longer Predicts Divorce


For decades, family attorneys in Pasadena and around the country have heard statistics which suggested that couples who live together before they get married were destined to divorce. Now a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that moving in doesn't necessarily mean a breakup like it once did.

The survey, which interviewed 22,000 American men and women on marital trends, found that 60 percent of couples live together before they marry.

"It's becoming so common, it's not surprising it no longer negatively affects marital stability," said Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Ohio's Bowling Green State University in an interview with ABC News.

CDC researchers examined trends in first marriages as they interviewed men and women between the ages of 15 and 44 during the years 2006 to 2010. About 40 percent were married. According to ABC, "The study found those who were engaged and living together before the wedding were about as likely to have marriages that lasted 15 years as couples who hadn't lived together." Conversely, couples who were living together but not engaged were less likely to make it to the 10- and 15-year marriage mark.

The new data on women indicated the marriages were 60 percent more likely to survive for 15 years "if the couple either hadn't lived together before the wedding or were engaged while they were sharing the same living space." But if no commitment was made, the chances of surviving 15 years fell to 53 percent. The numbers for men were much the same. Researchers point to family histories which led to negative perceptions about marriage, relaxed attitudes regarding commitment and lower levels of education as potential explanations in the shift. Other findings in the CDC survey include:

- The number of young women living with a male partner jumped from 3 percent in 1982 to 11 percent today.

- Nearly 50 percent of first marriages will end in divorce within 20 years - a statistic almost identical to what numerous other surveys have found.