Preferring cohabitation

Pirjo Paajanen, The Population Research Institute, Helsinki
Anneli Miettinen, The Population Research Institute, Helsinki

In this study we try to find out if cohabiting and married couples differ from each other according to age, education or socioeconomic status and number of children. Comparing data from 1997 and from 2007 we examine if the differences between married persons and cohabiters have disappeared. And have these differences or similarities changed in ten years? More over we examine what kind of reasons are important to cohabiting men and women to marry or to stay in cohabitation and if some reasons to marry or to stay in cohabiting union have changed over the ten years. The data for this study comes mostly from Family survey 2007, but partly also Family Survey 1997. Both were mail surveys. The sample was a simple random samples of women and men aged 20 – 59-years old living in Finland and the size was 2 000 year 1997 and 3 000 year 2007. The response rates achieved were 47 per cent year 1997 and 52 year 2007. For this study the sample was restricted only to women and men living in a partnership (cohabiting and married) 2007 N=1 143 and 1997 N=619. Main analytical tool used in this study is logistic regression analysis. When we compared married and cohabiting persons in 2007 and 1997 data, we found out that cohabiting ones were younger and more often childless, students and unemployed. Most of cohabiting persons were not going to marry in a near future. “Marriage is old fashion way of living” and “I don’t believe in lasting of marriage” were important reasons not to marry 2007. Year 1997 most important reasons were “Marriage is old fashion way of living”, “In cohabitation equality realizes in a better way”, and “In cohabitation it is easier to get rid of the relationship”. Ten years ago cohabitation seems to be more political or alternative way of living, but nowadays normal stage of relationship.

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Presented in Poster Session 1