A new U.S. Census Bureau report says the number of unmarried partners living together has tripled in the past two decades due to greater social acceptance.
The report released this week says the number went from nearly 6 million in 1996 to 19.1 million in 2018.
Benjamin Gurrentz, a bureau survey statistician, writes that the growth in unmarried cohabitation reflects either its increasing normalization or its view as an alternative to marriage for socially disadvantaged groups.
The report says unmarried partners are older, better educated, more likely to earn higher wages and more racially diverse than they were in the past.
As a group, unmarried partners are still small compared to married partners, who numbered 127 million in 2018.
The report used data from the bureau’s Current Population Survey program.