Idea of family, cohabitation changing

2014-01-07 16:39
(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - No longer taboo, living together has become a more common arrangement for America's couples who become pregnant while dating.

Soon to be released government figures show a major cultural shift since the days of "shotgun weddings" aimed at avoiding family embarrassment. With marriage on the decline, the shift is helping redefine the traditional notion of family.

"The emergence of cohabitation as an acceptable context for childbearing has changed the family-formation landscape", said Christina Gibson-Davis, a sociology professor at Duke University. "Individuals still value the idea of a two-parent family but no longer consider it necessary for the parents to be married."

Still, she cautions that children in cohabiting households may face more difficulties growing up if their unmarried parents are at higher risk of breaking up.

In all, the share of unmarried couples who opted to have "shotgun cohabitations", moving in together after a pregnancy surpassed "shotgun marriages" for the first time over the last decade, according to a forthcoming paper from the national centre for health statistics, part of the centres for disease control and prevention.

The trend was affirmed by three demographers who conducted separate research on the topic.

Marry when ready

It's the latest demographic tipping point as cohabitations turn mainstream, a far cry from the days when the father of a pregnant daughter might use coercion, such as a shotgun, to make sure the boyfriend followed through on a wedding.

"I want to marry when I'm ready, not because I'm being forced into it. Whenever I see couples do that, things don't work out", said Amanda Leigh Pulte, aged 22, of Austin, Texas, as her 11-month-old daughter Zoey cooed in her arms. Pulte previously had delayed moving in with Matthew Gage, a 29-year-old shipping manager and her boyfriend for three years, wishing to wait until she could earn a bachelor's degree in film and start a full-time job.

An unplanned pregnancy quickly changed that. Completing an associate degree, she agreed to have Gage move in so the couple could work and save on rent while raising Zoey together.

Even though they didn't see marriage as a serious option for now, in part to avoid the additional stress of planning and paying for a wedding.

"For a while, my father was kind of shocked about the whole thing, but ultimately he was just excited to be a grandfather", she said with a chuckle. The couple is getting child care tips from the nonprofit Any Baby Can, which also helps them with physical therapy for Zoey, who was born with health ailments.

Likely to continue

The numbers are based on the government's national survey of family growth, typically issued every four years. It provides the only government data on cohabiting mothers by asking questions on a woman's relationship status before and after conception and childbirth.

Women who say they were single before conception and then married before childbirth are counted as someone who had a post-conception, or "shotgun" marriage; those who moved in with their boyfriends after pregnancy had a post-conception or "shotgun" cohabitation.

Demographers say the cohabiting trend among new parents is likely to continue. Social stigma regarding out-of-wedlock births is loosening, and economic factors play a role. Many couples, especially those who lack a bachelor's degree, are postponing marriage until their finances are more stable.

But because of globalisation, automation and outsourcing, good-paying middle-income jobs are harder to come by.

"Because marriages are becoming more polarised by economic status, I don't see the trend of shotgun cohabitations reversing any time soon", said Casey Copen, a demographer at the government's national centre for health statistics, which administers the government survey.

- AP
Read more on:    us
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Assistant Production Manager

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Express Employment Services - Cape Town
R400 000 Per Year

Job: Web Developer – Leading Development Agency, Cape Town, R7k -R12k

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Initiate International
R7 000 - R12 000 Per Month

Project Manager

Cape Town
E-Merge IT Recruitment
R660 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to combine imagination, information and creativity together. Try not to over rationalise things and rather...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.