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Regular version of the site

Article

Towards a new understanding of cohabitation: Insights from focus group research across Europe and Australia

Demographic Research. 2014. Vol. 31. No. 34. P. 1043-1078.
Isupova O. G., Perelli-Harris B., Mynarska M., Berrington A., Evans A., Keizer R., Klaerner A., Berghammer C., Lappeguard T., Vigholi D.

Across the industrialized world, more couples are living together without marrying.
Although researchers have compared cohabitation cross-nationally using quantitative
data, few have compared union formation using qualitative data.
OBJECTIVE
We use focus group research to compare social norms of cohabitation and marriage in
Australia and nine countries in Europe. We explore questions such as: what is the
meaning of cohabitation? To what extent is cohabitation indistinguishable from
marriage, a prelude to marriage, or an alternative to being single? Are the meanings of
cohabitation similar across countries?