Comparing Marriage, Cohabitation, and Being Single

Arland Thornton, William G. Axinn and Yu Xie

in Marriage and Cohabitation

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780226798660
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226798684 | DOI:
Comparing Marriage, Cohabitation, and Being Single

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This chapter explores the meanings of marriage, cohabitation, and being single; the contrasts among these statuses; and how cohabitation relates to marriage and being single. It also examines the heterogeneity of cohabitors by considering the motivations and expectations of people who cohabit, both at the beginning of cohabitation and later in the relationship, beginning with being single, because it is the first relationship status experienced by young people. Although babies enter the world embedded within a complex kin and community system, their relationship status is firmly and clearly single as they are born without partner and without spouse. In Western societies, this single status persists through the first decade of life and changes dramatically in the second decade with the coming of adolescence and young adulthood.

Keywords: marriage; cohabitation; single; relationship; adolescence; young people

Chapter.  6010 words. 

Subjects: Population and Demography

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