Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2011 Matthew Beienburg
Pre-marital cohabitation has become a mainstream practice among couples in the United States, yet initial empirical evidence demonstrated significant correlations between cohabitation and subsequent marital instability. Later studies disputed a causal relation and have attempted to show a weakened connection over time, but have themselves suffered from the use of exclusively older and/or unreliable data. This paper uses figures from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997-08) and the National Survey of Family Growth (2006-08) to provide an updated analysis of cohabitation’s effect on marriage over the past decade. Using proportional hazard and competing risk models, this paper confirms a now minimal impact of cohabitation on marriage stability, with possible exceptions for serial cohabitation and cohabitation begun prior to engagement. Moreover, this study finds that cohabitation overwhelmingly remains a step toward, rather than serious substitute for, marriage.
Beienburg, Matthew D., "Tie the Knot or You Tighten the Noose? The Current Effect of Pre-marital Cohabitation on Marriage Survival Rates" (2011). CMC Senior Theses. 120.