Cohabitation Ends in Separation 90% of Time

A study published by the journal Demography has shown that cohabitation is not the road to happy marriage, or even to a happy relationship, but rather ends in separation 90% of the time.

The study’s lead researcher, Daniel Lichter, a professor of policy analysis at Cornell University, said, “The common view of cohabitation as a stepping stone to marriage needs to be seriously questioned.”

“Instead, serial cohabitation may be an emerging norm as cohabiting unions form and break up. If marriage promotion programs hope to target poor cohabiting women, our results seemingly suggest that the likelihood of success is not assured.”

The study showed that one-half of all cohabiting unions end within a year and 90% within five years. The study also showed that the common failure of cohabitation affects poor women more severely since they tend to rely financially on their live-in partners.

In the meantime a court in North Carolina has overturned as unconstitutional a 201-year-old law that prohibited couples living together before they were married. The suit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the state on behalf of Deborah Hobbs, 41, a former sheriff's dispatcher who lost her job because she wouldn't marry her live-in boyfriend.

The court cited a 2003 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Texas sodomy law in ruling that the law protecting the state’s interest in lawful marriage violated Hobbs’ right to liberty.

The law stated, in part: “If any man and woman, not being married to each other, shall lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabit together, they shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

(This article courtesy of

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