Premarital Cohabitation and Housework: Couples in Cross-National Perspective



The authors examine the effect of premarital cohabitation on the division of household labor in 22 countries. First, women do more routine housework than men in all countries. Second, married couples that cohabited before marriage have a more equal division of housework. Third, national cohabitation rates have equalizing effects on couples regardless of their own cohabitation experience. However, the influence of cohabitation rates is only observed in countries with higher levels of overall gender equality. The authors conclude that the trend toward increasing cohabitation may be part of a broader social trend toward a more egalitarian division of housework.