Living with an Unmarried Partner Now Common for Young Adults

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According to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today, living together has become a more common option than marriage.

In 2018, 9 percent of people aged 18-24 live with an unmarried partner compared to 7 percent who live with a spouse. Among young adults ages 25-34, 15 percent live with an unmarried partner which is up from 12 percent 10 years ago.

In contrast to the rising rates of cohabitation, the proportion of young adults who are married has declined over time.

Today, 30 percent of young adults ages 18-34 are married, but 40 years ago, in 1978, 59 percent of young adults were married.

Adults who marry today tend to have a more favorable economic situation relative to other groups. For example, 40 percent of married young adults ages 18-34 earned $40,000 or more, compared to just 20 percent of unmarried young adults.

A recent Census Bureau study suggests that counties where young adults have higher socioeconomic characteristics, marriage rates tend to be higher as well. Many young adults experienced a lack of economic security after the Great Recession. This may have contributed to more young adults living with a partner and not marrying.

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