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France, Sweden and Finland have highest cohabitation rates in EU

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France, Sweden and Finland have highest cohabitation rates in EU

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.


Read more:

Eurofound report: Household composition and well-being

Datawrapper: Interactive graph showing cohabitation rates in EU and UK

Datawrapper: Map showing percentage of people living with a partner who are not married in EU and UK

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James Higgins

James Higgins

Press contact Press and media relations +353-1-204-3100
Måns Mårtensson

Måns Mårtensson

Press contact Media & Promotion Manager Media relations, marketing and promotion +353-1-204 3124
Mary McCaughey

Mary McCaughey

Head of Information and Communication +353-1-204-3240

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Eurofound (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) is a tripartite EU body, whose mission is to provide knowledge to assist in the development of better social, employment and work-related policies.

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