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Premarital Cohabitation

In: Social Issues

Submitted By choyu1021
Words 7560
Pages 31
Increasingly, children are growing up in cohabiting households, rather than with married parents.
Nearly 20 percent of births today are to cohabitating parents, according to Susan L. Brown at the Center for Family and Demographic Research.Almost 40 percent of children will spend time in a cohabiting household by age 16.
Living together is now common, but it is not without consequence—particularly for children.
The effects of this family structure on children are just beginning to be understood. However, initial research by Brown and others suggests cohabitation is generally a less stable family structure than married couple or single-mother households. While there is some evidence that children in cohabiting households fare worse than those in married or single-parent families on several key indicators (Manning & Lamb, 2003), what is less clear is why. Do these negative outcomes stem from something inherent in the family structure? Or are these effects due to the types of parents who choose to cohabit (rather than to the experience of cohabitation itself)?
How does living in a cohabiting household affect both children and adults?
Impact on Children
Development
Spending extended time in cohabiting households at an early age is linked to slowed cognitive growth and language acquisition in children. Brown notes that even in stablecohabiting households, children show smaller gains in mental development. The Urban Institute finds children in cohabiting homes are also less likely to be read to than other children.
Poverty
Poverty is higher in cohabiting homes, around 23%. By contrast, the poverty rate for married couples is just 7%. Researcher Linda Waite of the University of Chicago confirms cohabiting households generally have less wealth.
Impact on Families
Effects on Women
Cohabiting mothers have more depressive symptoms than other women. These mothers…...

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