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Historically, many Western countries have been influenced by Christian doctrines on sex, which opposes unmarried cohabitation.As social mores have changed, such beliefs have become less widely held by the population and some Christian denominations today view cohabitation as a precursor to marriage.One study found that children born of parents who cohabit are 90% more likely to end up living in households with married parents than children born to single mothers.67% of unmarried Hispanic mothers are expected to marry, while 40% of African American mothers are expected to marry.In today's cohabiting relationships, forty percent of households include children, giving us an idea of how cohabitation could be considered a new normative type of family dynamic.

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Today, cohabitation is a common pattern among people in the Western world.Cohabitation shares many qualities with marriage, often couples who are cohabiting share a residence, personal resources, exclude intimate relations with others and, in more than 10% of cohabiting couples, have children.This helps provide the surviving partner a legal basis for inheriting the decedent's belongings in the event of the death of their cohabiting partner.The rise in the number of cohabiting couples and children born out of wedlock in the Western world has made cohabitation a strong focus of sociological research.Opponents of cohabitation say non-marital parenting is an unsuitable environment for a child's development.

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