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The number of unmarried couples continues to rise

It might not come as a huge surprise to Rockford, Illinois, residents, but statistics do confirm that the number of unmarried couples who are living together continues to rise across the country. According to the Pew Research Center, while the number of people getting married is trending downward, more people are instead choosing to cohabitate while foregoing marriage.

As of three years ago, the number of people who were cohabitating stood at about 18 million. This marks an increase of about 30 percent over the latter part of last decade, in which the number was closer to 14 million.

Consistently over the last 10 or so years, the age group most likely to cohabitate were young adults, that is, those between the ages of 18 and 34. These people made up about half of all unmarried couples, and their numbers have continued to climb. As of 2016, about 8.9 million people in this age group were cohabitating, compared with 7.2 million a little less than 15 years ago.

However the statistics also showed that, by far, the age group of people 50 and older is experiencing the fastest growth in the number of unmarried couples. In 2007, 2.3 million people in this age group were cohabitating, while in 2016, the number was 4.0 million. This is an increase of 75 percent.

For unmarried couples of all ages, their situation presents unique family law issues. For example, when an Illinois couple who has never been married splits, their case will simply not be handled like, say, a divorce, since the laws are significantly different. For this and other reasons, unmarried couples who are facing issues should consider evaluating their legal options carefully.

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