More than 700 thousand unmarried couples in the Netherlands were living together on 1 January 2003. Just over half of these couples had a formal partnership contract. The number of cohabiting couples was 200 thousand than in 1995.
Relatively many Dutch people aged 25 to 29 years live with a partner without being married. In 2003 one third of people in this age group were cohabiting. In 1995 this was 10 percent points less. As more and more younger people – younger than 24 years – are postponing moving in with a partner, which means more people in their late twenties are living together. As people in the latter age group are also postponing marriage, this is also a reason that more of them are living together.
Relatively few people older than 40 were living together without being married in 2003. This is because in the course of time most cohabiting couples marry. Many people over the age of forty were also married before cohabitation became the common form of relationship it is today.
Cohabiting couples by age, 2003
Just over half of couples living together in 2003 had an official partnership contract. One in six couples intended to draw up such a contract, while another one in six did not.
Partnership contracts were especially popular among couples in which the woman is older than 50 years. Seven out of ten couples with women in this age group had such a contract.
Cohabitation and partnership contracts, 2003
Young people often see living together as a sort of trial period for marriage. Nearly 80 percent of young people who are living together expect to marry in the future.
However, only one fifth of cohabiting couples in which the woman is aged 40 years or older expect to marry. Many of these couples do not marry because they have already experienced one failed relationship .
Cohabitation and marriage intentions, 2003
Arie de Graaf
Source: StatLine (Dutch only)