The bleak job scene in the United States has resulted in a surge of couples opting for in live-in relationships rather than marriage,a report by the Census Bureau has revealed.
In the first seven months of this year, the number of opposite-sex, unmarried cohabiting couples in the United States jumped by 13 percent or 868,000 people to 7.5 million, compared to 6.7 million in 2009, the report said.
Between 2007 and 2008 there was a five-percent increase and between 2008 and 2009 there was actually a two percent fall in the number of couples living together outside marriage.
"If more couples are moving in together, there might be some precipitating economic reason for the move, such as a job loss or the inability to support the cost of two homes," said Rose Kreider, a demographer in the Census Bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division.
Indeed, she found that while in 2008 both partners had jobs in 59 percent of unmarried, cohabiting couples, the same could be said for just 52 percent of similar couples in 2009 and less than half -- 49 percent -- this year.
"Pooling resources by moving in together may be one method of coping with extended unemployment of one of the partners," said Kreider.
The three-year lag between the spike in cohabitation and the official start of the Great Recession in late 2007 could be due to "people exhausting other methods of coping -- unemployment benefits, savings accounts, available credit, or assistance from friends and family," she said.
Kreider's analysis of census data also found that partners in newly formed couples who lived together in 2010 were younger than already established couples, less likely to be white and more likely to live in the south.