It has long been touted as accepted wisdom that cohabiting outside of marriage ups the odds of divorce after marriage.
A recent study out of the University of North Carolina actually debunks this axiom – or rather qualifies it.
The study concludes that it is not so much the marital status as the age of the couple at the time of living together that impacts their odds of divorce after marriage.
More specifically, the study reports that couples who cohabit or marry at eighteen years old are more likely to divorce than not, suffering a sky high divorce rate of sixty (60%) percent.
In sharp contrast, couples who defer cohabiting or marrying by just five years improve their odds by half again, slashing their divorce rate to just thirty (30%) percent.
An astounding difference in marriage success / failure rates from ages eighteen to twenty-three.
The study does not appear to have inquired into differences, if any, arising from age differences between partners.
Nor whether deferring marriage or cohabitation by yet another five years, to age twenty-eight, would further improve the odds of a marriage going the distance.
Read more in this Business Insider article: Couples who live together before a certain age are twice as likely to get divorced