Sociologists now believe that there has been a change in the associated link between living together and divorce, saying that while it used to be that living together before marriage increased the risk of divorce, this is apparently no longer the case.
According to Pamela Smock, a sociologist at the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center, the previously strong link between “living in sin” and divorce has weakened over the past four decades. Part of the reason is the change in demographics of those who choose to live together before marriage. Thirty years ago, those who decided to live together were decidedly more nontraditional in their beliefs – a group that carries a higher risk for divorce. Today, over 65 percent of marriages are between couples that have lived together prior to getting married, and what was once uncommon is now a common experience.
In addition, the reason couples decide to move in together has changed. In the 1970s, couples were more motivated by “free love”. Today, couples are deciding to move in together more for economic necessity – especially as unemployment remains high. This, conversely, leads to fewer marriages, not more. Studies have shown that couples who move in together to save money often end up not getting married. Which means, of course, fewer divorces.