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Study: Living together may lead to breakups
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Couples in the United States who live together before marrying may be more likely to consider divorce than those who do not, according to a study released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's health statistics division.
The report on marriage, divorce, remarriage and cohabitation said 75 percent of American women have been married by age 30 and about half have lived with their partner outside of marriage.
The study's findings are based on interviews conducted in 1995 with about 11,000 women ages 15 to 44.
Couples who did not live together before marrying had a 31 percent chance of splitting up after 10 years, compared with a 40 percent chance for couples who cohabited before marriage, the study found.
One of the study's authors said the report did not draw the conclusion that living together before marriage was the cause of the relationship ending.
"It may not be the experience of cohabiting but the people who cohabit," said William Mosher.
"What we're saying about that is that we think that couples who cohabit before marriage may have different values than couples who do not," he said.
Couples who live together before marriage may be the type of people who are "more likely to consider divorce," he explained.
The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics report also compared the success rates for marriage and pre-marital cohabitation.
It found that the probability of a first marriage ending in separation or divorce within five years is 20 percent, compared with the 49 percent probability of a pre-marital cohabitation breaking up within the same time period.
After 10 years, the study found, a first marriage has a 33 percent chance of ending compared with a 62 percent chance for cohabitations.
The data suggested that a woman's age, whether she comes from an intact two-parent home, the importance of religion in her life, and economic factors also play a part in how long a marriage or cohabitation will last.
The study also found that the likelihood that divorced women will remarry has been declining over the past 50 years. According to the 1995 data, women who divorced in the 1980s had a 50 percent chance of remarrying compared with 65 percent in the 1950s.
The study also found that white women who have separated from their spouses are more likely to end the relationship in divorce than are Hispanic or black women, and women living in prosperous communities are more likely to do so than those in poorer neighborhoods.