The social and demographic characteristics of cohabiters in Australia: Towards a typology of cohabiting couples

Buchler, Sandra, Baxter, Janeen, Haynes, Michele and Western, Mark (2008). The social and demographic characteristics of cohabiters in Australia: Towards a typology of cohabiting couples. In: Families through life : 10th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference Proceedings. 10th Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne, (1-28). 9 –11 July 2008.

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Author Buchler, Sandra
Baxter, Janeen
Haynes, Michele
Western, Mark
Title of paper The social and demographic characteristics of cohabiters in Australia: Towards a typology of cohabiting couples
Conference name 10th Institute of Family Studies Conference
Conference location Melbourne
Conference dates 9 –11 July 2008
Proceedings title Families through life : 10th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference Proceedings
Place of Publication Melbourne, Vic., Australia
Publisher The Australian Institute of Family Studies
Publication Year 2008
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status
Start page 1
End page 28
Total pages 28
Language eng
Abstract/Summary In a twenty year period, from 1982 to 2001, the proportion of couples cohabiting in Australia rose from 4.7 % to 12.4 %. This represents a substantial shift in patterns of family formation. Not only are more people living in cohabiting relationships, it is becoming the norm to live in such a relationship either instead of or before committing to marriage. Over 75% of couples now live together prior to marriage compared to only 16 percent in 1976. We use data from Wave 1 of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey to investigate how de facto (cohabiting) couples differ from people of other marital statuses on a number of demographic measures. We also examine whether there are distinct groups within the category of cohabiting. We find that cohabiting couples differ from married, single and separated, divorced or widowed people on a number of measures, such as age, religiosity, ethnic background, education, income and fertility intentions. Furthermore, our results show that there are different types of cohabiting couples, ranging from younger people who see cohabitation as a ‘trial marriage’, and intend to marry, to older people who have been previously married and who have no intention of re-marrying. The demographic characteristics of these groups also differ substantially. The paper concludes that the recent rise in cohabiting relationships, and diversity amongst these groups, is a reflection of the fundamental changes in patterns of family formation and the changing status of marriage in the life course.
Subjects 1608 Sociology
Keyword Cohabitation
De facto relationships
Marriage demographics
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code

 
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Created: Fri, 22 Jan 2010, 08:55:24 EST by Ms Therese Nolan-brown on behalf of Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences