Monday, July 06, 2009

Unmarried couples with children more common in rural areas; also more likely to eventually marry

Rural children are more likely than their urban counterparts to live in households with unmarried couples, according to a new report from The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. Authors William O’ Hare, Wendy Maning, Meredith Porter and Heidi Lyons also found correlations among poverty levels and economic stress that may contribute to the increasing rates of rural cohabitation.

In 2007, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey counted 4.8 million children in cohabitating households – 1 million of whom live in rural areas. The most recent report indicates that the number of rural children living in a cohabitating household has grown by almost 50 percent since 2000 and now surpasses the ratio of urban children living in cohabitation situations. Among those rural children living with a cohabitating couple, the poverty rate is approximately 10 percent higher than those in married-couple households.

Factors that may contribute to the increased numbers of cohabitation in rural areas are higher economic stress caused by a larger deficit in employment and education. Thus, cohabitation may be a more economically-motivated decision for some rural single parents. And in contrast to their urban counterparts, the authors found that rural cohabitating couples are more likely to marry eventually, and cohabitation may be “perceived as a stepping stone to marriage in rural areas.” (Read more)


Anonymous said...

I guess that means the long-held theory of "stronger traditional values" among rural populations is nothing more than a quaint lie.

Al Cross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Al Cross said...

Not really, because this study deals with a relatively small minority of the rural population. And in any event, "lie" is too strong a word to describe what is usually a statement of belief -- one supported by a good deal of polling data on the whole population.