DENVER -- A new government study suggests living together before getting married is not such a bad idea at all.
The National Center for Family and Marriage found that men and women who were engaged and living together before the wedding were about as likely to have marriages that lasted 15 years as couples who hadn't lived together.
The study also indicated about 60 percent of couples live together before they marry. Couples living together but not engaged were less likely to make it to the 10 and 15 year marks.
Researchers say some young people put off marriage to attend college, start careers and to travel while growing into adulthood.
In many cases, people not on a college track move from one living together relationship to another, sometimes leaving children behind.
"We think the study showed nearly half of first marriages will end within 20 years," said Dr. Galena Rhoades, who is with the D.U. Center for Marital and Family Studies. "What we also see is that Hispanic, Asian and white women are in effect "catching up" to black women who have been heading single-family house holds for many years."
Asian women in first marriages were most likely to have marriages lasting at least 20 years and 70-percent were still in their first marriages compared to 54-percent of white women, 53-percent of Hispanic women and 37-percent of black women.
Hispanic men had the highest 'staying-together’ rate at 62-percent for first marriages while the number for whites and blacks were 54-percent and 53-percent. There were no findings for Asian men.