Cohabiting Families

Did You Know?

  • Research shows that one fifth of US children are born into cohabiting-couple families. 1

  • Young children are more likely than in the past to live in a cohabiting household. In 2002, 2.9 million children under age 15 lived with an unmarried parent and his or her unmarried partner. 2

  • Consider the tips below to help you raise successful kids.
  • Be sure to explain your family’s structure to appropriate others in your kids’ world. Teachers, coaches, scout leaders, etc. will appreciate knowing who the relevant adults are in a kids’ life—and who they might see dropping them off or picking them up from events.
  • Learn more about creating a supportive team of adults for your child >
  • Building a solid relationship with your partner and providing a stable family to your kids is important in every family—whether partners are married or not. Pay attention to your relationship needs and work at addressing problems before they become significant issues.
  • Read more about how to foster caring relationships both in and with other caring adults outside your home >
  • Remember to have your own life, too. Parents in all kinds of families can get caught up in focusing on their kids alone. It’s good for your kids to see you pursuing interests and relationships in addition to them.
  • Learn more about nourishing your spark >

    1. Waldfogel, J., Craigie, T., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2010). Fragile families and child wellbeing. The Future of Children 20 (2), 87-112. Retrieved from

    2. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Marriage and cohabitation in the United States: A statistical portrait based on Cycle 6 (2002) of the National Survey of Family Growth. Washington, D. C.: Author. Retrieved from