The rapid increase in the number of unmarried cohabiting couples, indicated by recent evidence, is crucial to our understanding of changing marriage patterns. The levels and patterns of entry into cohabitation have been well documented over the last two decades. but little is known about the outcomes of nonmarital cohabitation. In this study we examine two competing outcomes of cohabitation relationships: union separation and legalization of the union through marriage. Our results show that the hazard rate of union dissolution is affected particularly by gender, fertility status, partner’s marital status, religion, age at start of cohabitation, year cohabitation commenced, and region.

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