“Let’s live together first”: A longitudinal investigation into whether cohabitation is a precursor to marriage among young urban South Africans.
AbstractThe prevalence of cohabitation is increasing globally. Often studied as an alternative to marriage, cohabitation practices are rarely studied as a precursor to marriage. In identifying if cohabitation is a step leading to marriage, we are better able to understand the popularity of this union type. Using longitudinal data from the Cape Area Panel Survey (CAPS 2002- 2006), this study examines if cohabitation is a precursor to marriage among youth in South Africa. Descriptive statistics and regression models are used. A sample of 7,305 youth in cohabiting relationships in 2002 was followed up. In 2006, only 87 of these youth reported being married. Cohabitation was found to produce lower odds (OR=0.21; p-value<0.05) of marriage in 2006. Females and unemployed youth were more likely to get married than males and employed youth in the study. Therefore, cohabitation is not a precursor to marriage among youth in the short-term. A longitudinal study with a longer duration is recommended as it is possible that this study is limited by the short duration between waves of data collection.
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