How Cohabitation and Marriage Effects Childhood Well Being Essay

Submitted By nikster0504
Words: 1047
Pages: 5

How Cohabitation and Marriage Effects Childhood Well Being


In the article, the author David Popenoe analyzes how non-marital cohabitation has become a common choice among Western nation families. Popenoe specifically studies how non –marital cohabitation has negatively affected the relationship of those involved and the children being raised in this lifestyle. Counties involved in analysis are Western Europe, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, and Australia. Among other countries, they are used to help understand the cohabitation choices that USA citizens are partaking in.

When Popenoe analyzes Cohabitation and the USA, he explains how today’s younger generation has a different outlook on non-marital cohabitation. In the past 25 years the percentage of high school seniors who “agreed” or “mostly agreed” with the statement “It is usually a good idea for a couple to live together before getting married” has climbed from 45% to 64% (Popenoe, 429). This is not only what young American believe, countries like Sweden are also parallel with America’s beliefs of non-marital cohabitation. 30% of the Swedish population lives together before marriage (Popenoe, 430). Northern and Central Europe have an even higher rate of this trend with 90% of Sweden and Denmark living together before becoming married. These statistics correlate with the author’s point that more and more couples believe that the choice to get to know your spouse before marriage seems to be what’s best. With the rate of non-marital cohabitation increasing, the amounts of unwed births are thus increasing as well.

The conclusions made based on the scientific research in this article, are the effects of non-marital cohabitation. These effects are mainly negative effects for the couple and any children in the living environment. Couples that live together but are not married have a weaker sense of couple identity, less willingness to sacrifice for the other, and a lower desire to see the relationship go long term,(Popenoe, 433). While this is a common practice for couples that are dating, it’s alarming to know that when these couples decide to have children outside of a marriage their parents are more likely so split. A study in Norway showed that unmarried couples who have children are more than twice likely to split, rather than a married couple (Popenoe, 433). This correlation has gone unchanged over many decades, and may indicate the direction America is going.

After reading the article I learned America isn’t the only major country to live a lifestyle of non-marital cohabitation. It was surprising to see how common this practice was in so many other countries. I also learned how many negative affects this behavior can have on a couple, and children. All these statistics are obviously valid, but we’re somewhat alarming. It’s very obvious and clear that it’s best for a child to live with his/her biological parent while growing up. Unfortunately with the divorce rate so common, I can say I know very few parents that have stayed together throughout the raising of their children.

I think the information from this article can be used as a knowledge base for public importance, but not so much for everyday life. For example, if the statistics on how cohabitation before marriage affects a potential marriage, a couple may see how their decision to live together before saying “I do” may not be the best decision for their future. I don’t think this information can be used for everyday life because the facts that are analyzed are instances that occur over a day’s period. Popenoe is choosing to analyze the effects of peoples major life decisions, not their decision on what to have for breakfast in the morning. The article is mainly structured around how the decision to raise a child in a non-marital