Cohabitation and Trends in the Structure and Stability of Children's Family Lives

Sheela Kennedy, University of Minnesota
Larry Bumpass, University of Wisconsin at Madison

We use data from the 1995, 2002, and 2006-08 cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to examine trends in cohabitation in the U.S. and to understand the impact of these changes for the living arrangements of American children. By 2006-2008, nearly one-quarter of all unmarried American women were cohabiting and nearly one-in-five women in a union were cohabiting rather than married. Children are increasingly born into or raised in cohabiting families. Our paper concludes by examining trends in children's experience of parent union disruption, as well as the time children spend living in a single-parent and step-parent families.

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Presented in Session 76: Cohabitation, Relationship Quality, and Union Stability