Welcome! Login | Register
 

What To Watch For: Patriots vs. Raiders—The Patriots will finally play their home opener…

Attend stART on the Street with Your Woo Card—The weekend is fast approaching, and GoLocalWorcester brings…

Worcester Art Museum Begins Construction on New Access Bridge—Construction has begun on a new accessible walkway…

Dear John: No Affair. And Maybe No Friendship.—Was she wrong to tell her friends?

Davis Advertising Debuts Blog about Marketing to Millennials—Davis Advertising will take an in-depth look at…

BBB Warns Consumers of Online Retailer, shopZoey.com—Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about shopZoey.com,…

Smart Benefits: Are Double-Digit Premium Increases a Thing of the Past?—A new study on employer health benefits from…

College Admissions: Which New England Grads Make 6 Figures?—As more attention from the federal government focuses…

Vanna to Play at Worcester’s Palladium—Boston’s melodic hardcore group, Vanna, has announced they…

Defensive Dominance Gives Patriots Blowout Win in Minnesota—The New England Patriots traveled to Minnesota looking…

 
 

Older Adults Living Together Instead of Marrying

Monday, September 17, 2012

 

If you like then you don't need to necessarily put a ring on it... if you're over 50, according to new research.

What will the kids say? More and more adults age 50 and over are choosing to live with their significant other instead of marrying them, according to a new study from researchers at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) at Bowling Green State University. During later life, the researchers say, cohabitation appears to operate as a long-term alternative to marriage, rather than a first step down the aisle. The study is in featured in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

Using data from the 1998-2006 Health and Retirement Study and the 2000 and 2010 Current Population Survey, the study’s authors found that cohabitation among adults over age 50 more than doubled from 1.2 million in 2000 to 2.75 million in 2010.

This trend is now accelerating as the baby boomers – the first generation to cohabit in large numbers – move into the older adult population, suggesting that cohabitation will be increasingly common among older Americans. “Similar to their younger counterparts, older Americans are embracing cohabitation in record numbers,” according to Dr. Susan Brown, lead author of the study and co-director of the NCFMR.

A growing openness

Archie Roberts, Providence-based therapist and GoLocal contributor, says that the NCFMR study reflects his experience. "I've seen a growing openness to diversity as far as the many ways people choose to live with one another--ranging from marriage to cohabitation and beyond," he said. "There are more and more socially acceptable alternatives to marriage these days."

Brown and colleagues assert that cohabitation among older adults is important because it plays a unique role in the lives of older Americans. Living together provides many of the benefits of marriage such as partnership, without the potential costs, like the mingling of financial assets. “Older adults desire an intimate partnership, but without the legal constraints marriage entails,” Brown said.

Motivations for change

Demographically, researchers found that women are especially reluctant to marry in later life, citing caregiving strains that marriage may involve as well as perceived loss of freedom. Most older cohabiters are divorced, followed by widowed, and then never married, whereas older widowers were more likely to remarry.

Perhaps the more remarkable feature of cohabitation among older adults, in stark contrast to their younger counterparts, is the durability of the unions. Of those who were living together when the study began, the average duration of their unions at that point was more than eight years. Over the ensuing eight years covered by the study, only 18 percent of these unions ended in separation and only 12 percent ended in marriage. The rest lasted until either the death of one partner or the end of the study. “The retreat from marriage is evident among older adults, who increasingly favor cohabitation over remarriage,” said Brown.

 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.