Cohabitation among older adults: a national portrait.

TitleCohabitation among older adults: a national portrait.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBrown, SL, Lee, GR, Bulanda, JR
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date Published2006 Mar
ISSN Number1079-5014
Call Numberpubs_2006_Cohabitation.pdf
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Demography, Female, Health Status, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Marriage, Middle Aged, Residence Characteristics, Sexual Partners, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States

OBJECTIVE: Older adults are increasingly likely to experience cohabitation, or living together unmarried in an intimate, heterosexual union. In order to begin building a conceptual framework, we provide a descriptive portrait of older adult cohabitors, emphasizing how they compare to older remarrieds and unpartnereds.

METHODS: We used data from both Census 2000 and the 1998 Health and Retirement Study ( HRS; Health and Retirement Study, 1998) to estimate the size and composition of the cohabiting population aged 51 and older. Also, using HRS data, we estimated multinomial logistic regression models to identify the correlates associated with cohabitation and remarriage (vs being unpartnered) among women and men who were previously married.

RESULT: More than 1 million older adults, composing 4% of the unmarried population, currently cohabit. About 90% of these individuals were previously married. We identify significant differences among cohabitors, remarrieds, and unpartnereds across several dimensions, including sociodemographic characteristics, economic resources, physical health, and social relationships. Cohabitors appear to be more disadvantaged than remarrieds, and this is especially evident for women.

DISCUSSION: Older cohabitors differ from individuals of other marital statuses, and therefore future work on marital status should explicitly incorporate cohabitation.

User Guide Notes

Endnote Keywords


Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key7083
PubMed ID16497963
Grant ListR03-AG024512 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R21-HD042831 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
U01AG09740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States