Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Clinton's and Trump's appeal to voters viewed from perspective of Neidert and Lesthaeghe's SDT framework

Stephenson assessing in-home HIV testing and counseling for male couples

Thompson says mass incarceration causes collapse of Detroit neighborhoods

Highlights

Maggie Levenstein named director of ISR's Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

Arline Geronimus receives 2016 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award

PSC spring 2016 newsletter: Kristin Seefeldt, Brady West, newly funded projects, ISR Runs for Bob, and more

AAUP reports on faculty compensation by category, affiliation, and academic rank

Next Brown Bag

PSC Brown Bags
will resume fall 2016

Pamela Smock photo

Heterosexual Cohabitation in the United States: Motives for Living Together among Young Men and Women

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionSmock, Pamela, Penelope M. Huang, Wendy Manning, and Cara A. Bergstrom. 2006. "Heterosexual Cohabitation in the United States: Motives for Living Together among Young Men and Women." PSC Research Report No. 06-606. August 2006.

Cohabitation has become the modal path to marriage in the U.S. for heterosexual men and women, and is experienced widely whether or not marriage is the result. Consequently, understanding marriage formation, and living arrangements more broadly, requires a nuanced understanding of cohabitation. Drawing on data from 18 focus group interviews (n=138), supplemented by 54 semi-structured interviews with cohabiting working and middle-class young adults, this paper explores motivations and beliefs surrounding reasons to cohabit or refrain from doing so. Findings suggest that primary motives to cohabit include spending more time together due to affection, attraction, and logistics; sharing expenses; and evaluating compatibility. Notably, results also indicate gender differences in how cohabitation is perceived. Of concern to men is a perceived loss of freedom associated with cohabitation, while women voice concerns that cohabitation decreases their bargaining power and can delay marriage. Moreover, the ultimate goal of cohabitation for women is typically marriage, while, for men, the linkage between cohabitation and marriage is weaker. Our results suggest that gendered cultural schemas shape cohabiting unions, implying a gender gap in the perceived role of cohabitation in the courtship and marriage process.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next