University of Denver

Cohabitation Among New Parents on the Rise, According to New Government Figures

Director of Special Projects

Forthcoming statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth show an increase in cohabitation among new parents, and demographers say this trend is likely to continue. The preliminary figures show that—for the first time—the percentage of unmarried couples who move in together after pregnancy surpasses the percentage that chose to marry. Demographers suggest that economics play a role in this trend, and cohabitation has been found to be growing fastest among high school graduates with children. Also contributing to this trend is the relaxing stigma with respect to out-of-wedlock births. While cohabitating parents who separate do not have to seek a divorce decree from the courts, they do need access to the courts for purposes of deciding issues of parenting time and parental responsibility.