2. Cohabitation or Marriage? Contemporary Living Arrangements in the West

  1. Angela Abela and
  2. Janet Walker
  1. Turid Noack,
  2. Eva Bernhardt and
  3. Kenneth Aarskaug Wiik

Published Online: 4 OCT 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118320990.ch2

Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World

Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World

How to Cite

Noack, T., Bernhardt, E. and Wiik, K. A. (2013) Cohabitation or Marriage? Contemporary Living Arrangements in the West, in Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World (eds A. Abela and J. Walker), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118320990.ch2

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 OCT 2013
  2. Published Print: 31 OCT 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119971030

Online ISBN: 9781118320990

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Keywords:

  • non-marital co-residential union;
  • cohabitation;
  • alternative to marriage;
  • marriage intentions;
  • de-standardisation of family formation pattern;
  • cohabitation legislation;
  • same-sex marriages;
  • family formation pattern

Summary

Cohabitation is increasingly prevalent all over the Western world. Levels of cohabitation vary a great deal between European countries, the highest being in the Nordic countries and the lowest in the southern and eastern parts of Europe. By and large, cohabitation in Europe is still not regarded as an alternative to marriage with respect to childbearing and early childrearing. In most countries, however, most people have no objection to people living together without being married. Unlike marriage, cohabitation has normally not been regulated by law, nor has its occurrence been officially registered. In recent years there has been increasing regulation of cohabitation and this is generally most developed in countries with high cohabitation rates. Legalisation of same-sex marriages, which in recent decades has taken place in several countries, represents another de-standardisation of the traditional family formation pattern. This chapter comprehensively explores the issues arising from contemporary living arrangements in the West.