where the writers are
America Accepts Cohabiting!

According to a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of 1,007 adults, most people today reject the notion that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced. Almost half (49%) said living together makes divorce less likely; 13% said it makes no difference. Just 31% said living together first makes divorce more likely; 7% had no opinion. Respondents also appeared open-minded on whether unmarried couples can have a committed relationship. Half the sample was asked if an unmarried couple who have lived together for five years is as committed as a couple married five years; 57% said yes, they are.

Europe leads in cohabitation

In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, shacking up is very common;  roughly 50% of all children are born into families of unmarried couples, whereas the same figure for several other Western European countries is roughly 10%.

In late 2005, 21% of families in Finland consisted of cohabitating couples (all age groups). Of couples with children, 18% were cohabitating. Of ages 18 and above in 2003, 13.4% were cohabitating. Generally, cohabitation amongst Finns is most common for people under 30. Legal obstacles for cohabitation were removed in 1926 in a reform of the Finnish penal code, while the phenomenon was socially accepted much later on among non-Christian Finns.

In the UK, 25% of children are now born to cohabiting parents.

In France, 17.5% of couples were cohabiting as of 1999.

Cohabitation in the Middle East is rare unless you have a "sex slave!"

The cohabitation rate in Israel is less than 3% of all couples, compared to 8%, on average, in West European countries.

Cohabitation is illegal, living in sin according to Islamic law, with one exception: sexual relations between a female slave and a male master are allowed.

Cohabitation in Asia still taboo unless living in poverty!

In India, cohabitation is generally taboo. Increasingly large numbers of young couples in big cities prefer it. As in other places, people with conservative religious views are opposed to it. Female live in partners have economic rights under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005.

In Japan, according to M. Iwasawa at the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, less than 3% of females between 25-29 are currently cohabiting, but more than 1 in 5 have had some experience of an unmarried partnership, including cohabitation.

In the Philippines, around 2.4 million Filipinos (18% of population) were cohabitating as of 2004. The vast majority of them are between the ages of 20-24. Poverty was often the main factor in decision to cohabitate.