The National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported cohabitations were typically short-lived. Half of women who began their first premarital cohabitation in 1997-2001 became married and another one-third of the cohabitations dissolved within five years.
Forty-eight percent of U.S. women interviewed in 2006-10 cohabited with a partner as a first union, compared with 34 percent of women who did so in 1995, the report said.
The report uses data primarily from the 12,279 female respondents of the 2006-10 National Survey of Family Growth, collected via in-person interviews from a representative sample of women and men age 15-44.
Within three years of cohabiting, 40 percent of women had become married, while 32 percent remained living together and 27 percent broke up, the study said.
Nineteen percent of the women became pregnant and gave birth in the first year of a first premarital cohabitation, the report found.
In 2006-10, 70 percent of women with less than a high school diploma cohabited as a first union, compared with 47 percent of women with a bachelor's degree or higher. In 1995, 46 percent of women with less than a high school diploma cohabited as a first union, compared with 34 percent of women with a bachelor's degree or higher, the report said.