Number of live-in couples in US increases sharply
WASHINGTON — For love or money? The number of unmarried couples living together is rising sharply as many young adults who are having a hard time finding jobs are “doubling up’’ with significant others.
The number of opposite-sex unmarried couples who shared living arrangements jumped 13 percent this year to 7.5 million, the Census Bureau reported yesterday. A 2 percent decrease was reported between 2008 and 2009.
There were about 620,000 same-sex couples living together, a figure not statistically different from a 2008 census estimate of 565,000.
Demographers say a sluggish job market is probably a factor. Many young adults may now be leaning on boyfriends or girlfriends as unemployment benefits and savings accounts dwindle.
“It would be odd to say this year was emotionally different, so it’s more likely practical considerations that are behind the increase in cohabitation,’’ said Rose Kreider, a family demographer at the Census Bureau.
Her analysis shows that newly formed couples living together were more likely to have one partner unemployed.
Among other cohabitation findings:
■ Thirty-eight percent of new unmarried couples lived in the South, compared with 15.8 percent in the Northeast.
■ Thirty-seven percent of men in such newly formed couples were age 15 to 29, compared with 23 percent of the men in already existing unmarried couples. For women, 45 percent in the new couples were 15 to 29.
■ Fifty-seven percent of the new unmarried couples were made up of non-Hispanic white people, compared with 68 percent among existing couples.
The 2010 numbers come from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, an annual survey taken in March by a sample of US households.