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The number of baby boomers choosing to cohabit is on the increase

By Lola Augustine Brown


More and more older people are choosing to live together with their partners instead of getting married, a newly released American study shows, and one reason is that the baby boomers are getting older.

The number of cohabiters aged 50 or older is up 75% since 2007, according to Pew Research Center analysis of the US Current Population Study. Almost one-quarter (23%) of those cohabiting are 50 or older; about half are under 35.

Among the older group, most have been married before—almost two-thirds are divorced or separated (55% and 6%, respectively)—but 27% have never been married; 13% are widowed. The majority of those living together are younger boomers—57% are in their 50s and 30%, in their 60s; only 10% were in their 70s and 3%, in their 80s.

Researchers suggested a number of reasons for the rise in figures. Divorce among seniors has doubled since the 1990s, so fewer people are married in this age group than at any previous time in history. Marriage rates are lower in all age groups, with fewer people placing importance on making that commitment, especially if they’ve been there before. In addition, women are less financially dependent on men these days and so see less need to marry than they might have in years past.