Marriages with Children May Last

A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control reveals some surprising statistics about love and marriage; that is, the way to make love last is get married and have children.

The Marriage and Cohabitation Study, which began in 2002, tracked the relationships of 12,571 men and women ages 15 to 44 – a representative sample of American couples.  More than 40 percent were married and 9 percent were living together.

Newly released data finds that of those who were married, 78 percent remained married after five years; of those who were unmarried but were cohabiting, only 30% were still living together as an unmarried couple after five years.  However, about half of those cohabitations ended not because the couples broke up, but because they transitioned from merely cohabiting to being married couples within three years.

The most surprising statistic has to do with starting a family.  Women who gave birth eight months or more after getting married were 79 percent more likely to celebrate a ten-year anniversary.  Woman pregnant prior to marriage had a 54 percent chance of making it to ten years.  And those who had a baby before marriage had a 55 percent chance of lasting ten years. According to the study, however, childless couples only had a 34% chance of making it to ten years.

The report suggests that married couples tend to stay together longer but living together leads to marriage about half the time, and waiting until after the wedding to have children improves the odds of staying together.

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