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Dangers of Cohabitation

In a 2007 edition of the New Oxford Review, Dr. A. Patrick Schneider II, who holds boards in family and geriatric medicine and runs a private practice in Lexington, Kentucky, did a statistical analysis of cohabitation in America, based on the findings of a number of academic resources. Here are five conclusions Schneider draws from his studies:

  1. Relationships are unstable in cohabitation. One-sixth of cohabiting couples stay together for only three years; one in ten survives five or more years.

  2. Cohabiting women often end up with the responsibilities of marriage—particularly when it comes to caring for children—without the legal protection. Research has also found that cohabiting women contribute more than 70 percent of the relationship's income.

  3. Cohabitation brings a greater risk of sexually transmitted diseases, because cohabiting men are four times more likely to be unfaithful than husbands.

  4. Poverty rates are higher among cohabitors. Those who share a home but never marry have 78 percent less wealth than the continuously married.

  5. Those who suffer most from cohabitation are the children. The poverty rate among children of cohabiting couples is fivefold greater than the rate among children in married-couple households. Children ages 12–17 with cohabiting parents are six times more likely to exhibit emotional and behavioral problems and 122 percent more likely to be expelled from school.

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