A Portrait of U.S. Cohabiting Families: New Data from the Current Population Survey

Sheela Kennedy, University of Minnesota
Catherine A. Fitch, University of Minnesota

In this paper, we will use an important new source of cohabitation data to provide a current picture of the levels and characteristics of cohabiting households. In 2007, the Current Population Survey (CPS) introduced a new measure that identifies all cohabiting partners in a household, not simply the ”unmarried partners” identified in the relationship to household head question. The CPS now also now links children with co-resident parents and identifies the type of parental relationship (step, biological, adopted). These new variables from CPS provide critical information on U.S. families and provide an important baseline for studying trends in cohabitation as they develop. In addition to providing a snapshot of cohabiting families in 2007 and 2008, we will also analyze the impact of implementing the direct measure of cohabitation, by examining the differences between unmarried partnerships, unions and the types of cohabiting couples previously missed in the CPS.

  See paper

Presented in Session 7: Measurement and Estimates of Cohabitation