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

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Surprising findings on what influences unintended pregnancy from Wise, Geronimus and Smock

Recommendations on how to reduce discrimination resulting from ban-the-box policies cite Starr's work

Brian Jacob on NAEP scores: "Michigan is the only state in the country where proficiency rates have actually declined over time."

More News

Highlights

Call for papers: Conference on computational social science, April 2017, U-M

Sioban Harlow honored with 2017 Sarah Goddard Power Award for commitment to women's health

Post-doc fellowship in computational social science for summer or fall 2017, U-Penn

ICPSR Summer Program scholarships to support training in statistics, quantitative methods, research design, and data analysis

More Highlights

Next Brown Bag

Mon, March 13, 2017, noon:
Rachel Best

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. 8 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