This article draws attention to the cultural shift in the formation of families that has been and is taking place in this country: Marriage is on the decline and cohabitation is on the rise. Part II documents this cultural shift by using recent government data to trace the decline of marriage and the rise of cohabitation. Between 2000 and 2010, the population grew by 9.71%, but the husband-and-wife households only grew by 3.7%, while the unmarried-couple households grew by 41.4%. Because of the Supreme Court's decidion in Obergefell v. Hodges, marriage is now universally available to same-sex couples. Part II considers the impact of same-sex marriage on the marriage rate, then describes the benefits and obligations of marriage, and closes by noting the demographic characteristics of cohabiting couples. This article points out that cohabitation is a temporary or short-term state in most cases: The parties either break up or get married fairly quickly. Nevertheless, a small percentage of cohabiting couples continue to cohabit for much longer or for life. Because more of them are added every year, the longer-term cohabitations accumulate in the population.
Waggoner, Lawrence W. "Marriage Is on the Decline and Cohabitation Is on the Rise: At What Point, if Ever, Should Unmarried Partners Acquire Marital Rights?" Fam. L. Q. 50, no. 2 (2016): 215-46.