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The fact that many couples choose to live together without formalizing their relation is also recognized by the European Union.A 2004 directive forbids EU members from denying entry or residence of partners "with whom the Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested." A reason for the more permissive and less traditional views on cohabiting would be a low sex ratio. Galena Rhoades, "Before 1970, living together outside marriage was uncommon, but by the late 1990s at least 50% to 60% of couples lived together premaritally.
These societies entered a new era of increased social freedom, less rigid rules, and less authoritarian governments.In Europe, the Scandinavian countries have been the first to start this leading trend, although many countries have since followed.During the past decades, in Western countries, there has been an increase in unmarried couples cohabiting.A low sex ratio would mean there are many more women than men, resulting in differing societal values and acceptable behaviors. When given a survey of the reasons why they cohabit, most couples listed reasons such as spending more time together, convenience based reasons, and testing their relationships, while few gave the reason that they do not believe in marriage.Researchers suggest that couples live together as a way of trying out marriage to test compatibility with their partners, while still having the option of ending the relationship without legal implications.The results showed Caucasian and Hispanic teenagers had lower performance in school, greater risk of suspension or expulsion than peers from single-parent households, and the same rate behavioral and emotional problems.
The study found that 40% of children in the United States would live in a cohabiting household by age 12, and children born to single mothers were more likely than those born to married mothers to live in a cohabiting household.
Factors such as secularization, increased participation of women in the labor force, changing in the meaning of marriage, risk reduction, individualism, and changing views on sexuality have been cited as contributing to these social changes.
There has also been a change in modern sexual ethics, with a focus on consent, rather than marital status (i.e.
Cohabitation and births to unmarried mothers increased, and in some countries the increase was very quick.
The rise in cohabitation is part of other major social changes such as: higher divorce rate, older age at first marriage and childbearing, and more births outside marriage.
They interacted with Western Europe and some became members of the European Union.