Cohabitation – couples living together without being married – is on the rise in Europe. Eurofound’s calculations of EU data shows that France (13%), Sweden (13%) and Finland (12%) recorded the highest cohabitation rates in the EU in 2017. The largest proportional increases in cohabitation between 2007 and 2017 were recorded in Czechia, Slovakia and Belgium, and the overall cohabitation rate in the EU increased from 5% to 7%.
This data is presented as part of Eurofound’s research on Household composition and well-being, which shows how demographic change, social progress and economic cycles have impacted on household composition in Europe.
According to EU data, cohabitation continued to increase in Europe over the period 2007–2017. At household level, couples who had never married represented 7% of households in 2017, an increase of 2 percentage points from 2007. The proportion of people cohabiting who have never been married increased from 9% to 13% during the same period. The proportion of unmarried parents also increased since 2007 (7% to 11%). However, cohabitation was less common among couples who have children than couples without children (11% vs 15%, respectively).
Speaking about the findings, Mary McCaughey, Head of Unit for Information and Communication at Eurofound, said “We can see different trends emerging with regards to cohabitation in Europe, in some countries, predominantly in eastern and southern Europe, cohabitation is most often seen as a route to marriage and couples tend to live together for several years before they get married; in other countries, however, it is becoming more common as a permanent lifestyle.”
Get the data here.
Eurofound report: Household composition and well-being