U.S. marriage rate stable, more cohabiting

March 28, 2012 at 11:23 AM
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HYATTSVILLE, Md., March 28 (UPI) -- Among U.S. men, 56 percent of first marriages lasted at least 20 years, while 52 percent of women in first marriages were still married, officials said.

Casey E. Copen, Kimberly Daniels, Jonathan Vespa and William D. Mosher of the National Health Statistics Reports, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the analyses based on 22,682 interviews in 2006 to 2010 with men and women age 15-44, indicated the the rate of divorce is steady and marriage is stable.

The study found from 2006 to 2010, women and men married for the first time at older ages than in previous years. The median age at first marriage was 25.8 for women and 28.3 for men -- premarital cohabitation contributed to the delay in first marriage for both women and men.

It's been documented women and men who cohabit with their future spouse were more likely to divorce than those who do not cohabit with their spouse before first marriage, the report said.

However, recent research suggested the association between premarital cohabitation and marital instability might have weakened over time, the researchers said.

For example, couples who got engaged and then cohabited had the same risk of divorce as those who did not live together before marriage, the report said.

The percentage of women ages 15-44 currently cohabiting nearly quadrupled, from 3 percent in 1982 to 11 percent in 2006 to 2010.

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