Study: Unwed, educated couples living together make more money

This disparity seems to be caused by the fact that both partners are working as if they are single but splitting expenses as though they are married. Of college-educated adults, in 78% of cohabiting couples both partners had jobs compared to 67% of married couples.

This relationship changes when you remove the college education from the equation. Cohabiting couples lacking college educations were typically much worse off economically than educated married couples. Uneducated couples were on comparatively even financial ground as uneducated, single adults living without a partner.

The study may be slightly biased in that many college-educated couples put off having children until they are married, when one parent will stay home with the child. Also, as an unmarried couple, each person may feel the pressure to concentrate on their own career. If the relationship falls apart, each partner needs to be able to survive as a single person.

These findings do not mean that marriage as an institution is on the decline. While cohabitation among uneducated couples has led to fewer marriages, among college-educated cohabitants, marriage rates area steadily increasing. These couples do not just live together for the financial benefits. More than two thirds of educated couples saw living together as an intermediate step before marriage. This ratio increased with income level.


Follow Alfie on Twitter or Facebook and email him if interested in writing about Sex & Love.


A new study by the Pew Research Center found that since the 1990s, the number of American couples living together without being married has doubled. The study also found that these couples are better off financially than their single or married counterparts.

In 2009, the average household income for college-educated couples living together, aged 30 to 44, was $106,400. Married couples earned $101,160 while college-educated adults who lived with roommates, with family members, or alone had an average household income of $90,067.

Scroll to read more Tampa Bay News articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]