Poll: Vast Majority of Americans Approve of Cohabiting Couples

News: US News
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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 8, 2019   

Married couples are happier and more trusting of each other

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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A new poll reveals that the vast majority of Americans approve of cohabitation. Despite this figure, results show that married adults are happier and more trusting of their spouses.

Pew Research Center published the results of a survey on Wednesday that showed there were more adults who had ever been married than who had ever cohabitated in 2002, but that flipped from 2013 to 2017.

Overall, fully 85% of Americans think cohabitation is acceptable.

The percentage of adults who think cohabitation is acceptable — 69% — even if the couple never marries, far outweighed those who think cohabitation is never acceptable, as well as those who think cohabitation is only acceptable if the couple plans to marry.

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The number of adults who think society is better off if long-term couples eventually marry, however, was slightly higher than those who think society is just as well off if long-term couples stay together without marrying. 

The survey also examined how cohabitating couples and married spouses are experiencing their situations, finding that spouses were more satisfied and more trusting of each other. 

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Nearly six in ten married people (58%) said their marriages were going very well, as opposed to 41% of cohabiters who said the same about their unions.

About eight in ten married people (78%) said they feel closer to their spouse than to any other adult, as opposed to cohabiters (55%) who said the same about their partners. 

The survey also showed that people choose to marry for reasons different from why people choose to cohabitate. 

The survey also examined how cohabitating couples and married spouses are experiencing their situations, finding that spouses were more satisfied and more trusting of each other. 

Nearly six in ten married people (63%) said that choosing to establish a formal commitment was a big factor in their decision to marry. This desire to formally commit was more common among those who did not cohabitate with their spouse before marrying.

Nearly a quarter of cohabiters (23%) said that testing their relationships was a big factor in their decision to move in together.

The survey also revealed that many people, especially younger adults, view cohabitation as a step towards marriage. Many who choose to live together also cited finances as a hindrance to being engaged or marrying.

The survey revealed that most Americans think cohabitation is acceptable but also showed that married couples are happier and more trusting of their spouses, which could account for the slight majority that still thinks society is better off if people ultimately marry.

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