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Cohabitation in the UK

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Cohabitation The increase in cohabitation suggests a change from previous patterns, when cohabitation was usually a trial or temporary phase prior to marriage. Today, increased numbers of couples raise children in stable relationships. In Britain and a number of European countries, there is growing evidence that long-term cohabitation is growing in popularity. This is less the case in countries such as Ireland, Italy and Portugal where marriages continue to be popular. Coleman and Salt (1992) suggest considerable erosion of traditional assumptions and attitudes which could be linked to the declining popularity of marriage in Britain. The traditional marriage assumptions include: * Marriage confers on a woman a secure, settled income and a status and role based on raising children and keeping house; tasks around which most of her life will revolve. ...read more.


* Growing economic and employment insecurity may make people wary of commitment to long-term relationships. There is evidence of this particularly among young men who have increasing difficulty in finding work - a basis for 'settling down' and marrying. * Awareness of, or experience of, high divorce rates make people more cautious about marriage. There is some evidence that cohabiting relationships are less stable than marriages. A 1994 Economic and Social Research Council Report found that couples living together were four times more likely to separate than married couples. However, this study did not distinguish between couples with children and couples without, so a wide range of circumstances cold be aggregated together in the results. For example, young cohabiting couples such as students may well not be committed to a longer-term relationship. ...read more.


Their work can involve long hours and commitment which means that childrearing becomes impossible and in any case they questions the necessity of having children in an insecure and uncertain world. Activity 2 - a) Why do people have children? b) What factors may lead to increased questioning of the need to have children in the future? In an essay in The Obersver, 11 February 1996, Anthony Giddens suggests that living alone as an option will increase. Rather than seeing single people in a negative light, almost as lonely 'outcasts' subject to pity, he suggests that living alone will become a valued option, offering benefits of choice and independence that are not available in more conventional family settings. He suggests that a person on their own may, in fact, have more contact with a wider network of relations and kin than the conventional married couples, whose 'coupledom' could be a more isolated experience. Discuss - what are your views on a future where more people may opt to live alone? ...read more.

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