Cohabitation shares many qualities with marriage, often couples who are cohabiting share a residence, personal resources, exclude intimate relations with others and, in more than 10% of cohabiting couples, have children.

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One study from 2002 correlated lower numeracy skills and higher delinquency to children of cohabiting couples, however, recent studies that control for factors including poverty, the educational level of parents and violence in the home show children of cohabiting couples are developmentally similar to peers of comparable married couples.

In 2001, researchers compared teenage children living in a cohabiting household against peers in single-parent households.

decriminalization of adultery and fornication; criminalization of marital rape), reflecting new concepts about the role and purpose of sexual interaction, and new conceptualizations of female sexuality and of self-determination.

For instance, in the European Values Study (EVS) of 2008, the percentage of respondents who agreed with the assertion that "Marriage is an outdated institution" was 37.5% in Luxembourg, 35.4% in France, 34.3% in Belgium, 31.2% in Spain, 30.5% in Austria, 29.2% in Germany, 27.7% in Switzerland, 27.2% in Bulgaria, 27.0% in the Netherlands, 25.0% in Slovenia.

In Central and Eastern Europe, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were major political changes, such as the fall of Communist governments.

These societies entered a new era of increased social freedom, less rigid rules, and less authoritarian governments.

Cohabitation is an arrangement where two people who are not married live together.

Such arrangements have become increasingly common in Western countries during the past few decades, being led by changing social views, especially regarding marriage, gender roles and religion.

The percentage of women ages 19−44 who had ever cohabited increased from 45% in 1995 to 54% in 2002.

Cohabiting couples who have children often get married.

To "cohabit", in a broad sense, means to "coexist".