It’s no secret that many couples are cohabiting, that is, living together in a sexual relationship without marriage. Currently, 60% of all marriages are preceded by cohabitation, but fewer than half of cohabiting unions end in marriage. Americans often talk as if marriage were a private, personal relationship. But when two people live together for their own strictly private reasons, and carve out their own, strictly private bargain about the relationship, we call that relationship not marriage but "cohabitation." In America, it is now more popular than ever. More men and women are moving in together, sharing an apartment and a bed, without getting married first. The latest Census Bureau figures show four million couples living together outside of marriage (not counting gay couples), eight times as many as in 1970. And many more people have cohabited than are currently doing so; recent figures show that almost two-thirds of young adult men and women chose to cohabit first rather than marry directly.
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